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Tuesday, 23 July 2019
Page: 788


Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (16:42): All of us in this place rely heavily on our terrific teams, and I have an incredible electorate officer, David Ewings, who helps many hundreds of people in his role. There are some stories that really stand out for Dave; this is one of them.

We were recently contacted by a lady called Lynn. She is the primary carer for her sister. Lynn's sister was diagnosed with cancer last year and has since suffered two strokes, the most recent in February of this year. As a consequence of her conditions, Lynn's sister is bedridden. She needs assistance to do everyday things that most of us take for granted, like bathing, going to the toilet, preparing food and simply moving.

After Lynn fought to get an aged-care package, Lynn's sister was assigned a level 3—after so much argy-bargy. But this package fails to pay for nurses that provide the high level of care that her sister desperately needs. Lynn is terrified that her sister will pass away before she gets the help she needs. Lynn's sister has been described by health professionals as one of the most complex cases they have ever treated or witnessed, yet her needs aren't high enough, it would seem, to get the care that she needs. Lynn and her family have been left with little assistance and no choice. They are thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket. On some days, Lynn's 89-year-old mother has to be Lynn's sister's primary carer because Lynn needs to go to work to be able to pay for the services that her sister should already be getting.

Lynn has made numerous attempts to get her sister the level 4 package, which would cover her high care needs, but it's been months, and she's still fighting. She's sent emails to the previous and present ministers for aged care and senior Australians, but every one of them has been ignored. A minister ignoring such a desperate situation is truly untenable. Today Lynn told me that she's been forced to reduce her work hours so she can care for her sister and relieve her mum of some of the responsibility in order to keep her family functioning.

It is indefensible that vulnerable people like Lynn's sister are waiting in limbo for assistance. They need to be adequately cared for. How has it come to this? This is an absolute travesty of aged care, and it's not just happening to Lynn and her family. This situation is being replicated in thousands of families across Australia, and this government is doing nothing about it. It had to be dragged kicking and screaming to a royal commission about aged care, and it has still done nothing. When are we going to see some decent aged care in Australia from this incompetent government?