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Monday, 9 September 2019
Page: 2218

Dr MARTIN (Reid) (19:27): I rise today to commend the progress that has been made by the government since 2013 to increase the number of home care packages made available to older Australians. There would be few people in this place who have not been personally affected by the challenges of caring for an older family member, whether it be a parent, a grandparent, or a member of the extended family. Indeed, my own mother and her siblings are currently caring for their mother, my 92-year-old grandmother, who chooses to stay in her own home.

Home care packages allow older Australians to make the choice to stay in their homes for longer. This is an important choice. It allows more people to approach their later stages of life with greater dignity and independence. It also eases the workload often shouldered by family members who take up the role of caring for older Australians in addition to working full time and supporting their own children. Since 2012 and 2013, the government has increased the number of home care packages from just over 60,000 to over 124,000 in 2018-19, with more than 157,000 projected by 2022-23. This year, a further 10,000 home care packages will be available across all four levels of care.

The Morrison government has also extended the Commonwealth Home Support Program for a further two years, providing continuity of service for 800,000 consumers. Just last week, a further $150 million over three years was granted and announced by Minister Colbeck for providers of the Commonwealth Home Support Program. It is for entry-level care, to expand the program in areas where demand currently outstrips supply.

This is in stark contrast to Labor who, at the election, went to the polls with no additional funding for home care packages or aged care more broadly. When Labor left office in 2013, funding for aged care was $13.3 billion. Under our government, funding for aged care will continue to grow to $25.4 billion in 2023. With an ageing population, there is significant pressure on the aged-care industry to grow and adapt to meet market demands. More Australians than ever before are seeking support through home care or residential aged care, and I am pleased that the Morrison government is taking steps to secure this support into the future.

I want to acknowledge, briefly, the work of the multicultural organisations in my electorate of Reid in supporting the needs of older Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Firstly, there is the work of the Chinese Australian Services Society, CASS, led by Dr Bo Zhou. CASS provides support to a broad range of people, particularly the East Asian communities in Sydney. Today I'd like to congratulate them on the home care packages and Commonwealth home support programs they deliver with the culturally appropriate services they provide.

CASS also supports older Australians with aged-care centres. I was particularly interested in their integration of the program with early learning and childcare day care centres, which benefits both children and older Australians. The interactions between both ends of the life span—young people in day care but also the aged care—was very interesting to observe, and I understand Griffith University is conducting a research study on this very model.

Last year, Minister Wyatt, who was then the Minister for Aged Care, visited Reid to open the Gallipoli Home aged-care facility in Auburn. It is the first aged-care facility dedicated to providing care for Muslim and culturally diverse seniors. I'm pleased the federal government was able to provide $10 million to bring this project to fruition, in recognition of the growing number of older Australians born overseas. Home care packages are an important part of the support available for older Australians who choose to remain in their homes longer, like my 92-year-old grandmother. The services— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 19:33