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Monday, 3 December 2018
Page: 12377

Mr TIM WILSON (Goldstein) (18:15): When it comes down to why people want to speak on this motion, we face choices. And unfortunately, I have taken the bait, I accept that. What we have are motions that are often put forward by—how would you put it?—the hysterical, the overstated, the wannabe attention seekers of the opposition. This is yet another one of them, condemning the government for constantly putting Australians first. That is what we have done in every part of what we have focused on as part of this government and this program of delivery.

It's true that there are many Australians who need more support in their aging and retiring years. We all agree with that. It's not driven by ideological concerns; it's not driven by the agenda of the Labor Party and their faux compassion; it's driven by practical reality and human lived experience. What we have said at every point and what we want for those Australians is dignity in their latter years, a sense of security about how they can live their lives and be able to get the care and support that they so genuinely need. That's why we actually heavily support the home care package system. It's why we've expanded it continuously to be able to do so.

The fundamental underpinning of why we've been able to do that, why we've been able to increase the amount of money and support for home care packages, why we've been able to put more into the marketplace to make sure that those vulnerable Australians get the support and assistance they need to stay in the community and home that they love, surrounded by friends and family who love them, is that we have put a focus on building the economy to deliver.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TIM WILSON: The economy is not an end. It is merely a beginning. But the members who crudely interject on the other side should understand that if you don't have the financial capacity to deliver home care packages then there are no home care packages at all. We are doing what we can to make sure that those Australians who need that support and assistance are getting it.

One of the big challenges we face, of course, is making sure that we are meeting what people need. Mr Deputy Speaker Gee, you know as well as I do, because you're a sensitive person who is well aware of the conditions and the circumstances of the people in your community, in the same way that I am and the members for Berowra and Wide Bay are, that they understand directly the challenges their communities face, particularly with an ageing population. What we're seeing is a change in demand around aged care overall. I hate to break it to the members of the opposition, but home care packages do not sit in isolation. We have special aged-care services where people are going into aged care at a latter stage of life, often with a higher acuity, who need greater assistance and support. We're providing support and assistance for that, working with the community sector, the private sector as well as charitable organisations.

But what we're seeing—and it's a wonderful thing—is more people who want the opportunity to stay in their own home in the latter stages of their life because of the security and opportunity it provides people to stay in an environment of comfort. We understand that we have got to deliver that and we have to be able to assist people with that. But what doesn't assist the discussion is the pandering rhetoric from the opposition, without actually paying any attention to the substantive issue about how this government is driving that delivery at a community level. I would have thought that the increase in home care packages that this government has delivered would be a cause for celebration. Instead, it has become a rather trifling and pointless exercise in the Federation Chamber this afternoon and this evening for the opposition to try and score points.

Don't get me wrong; I think there was some validity in some of the discussion that was made by the opposition. There was a critique of the fact that bureaucracy is complicated. I agree: bureaucracy is complicated. That's why I'm a great believer in deregulation and streamlining bureaucracy. I actually want people to be able to get assistance and support for the services that they seek. Unfortunately, I don't think that we are going to be hearing a deregulation agenda from the opposition as part of this discussion. In fact, they are backed up by the entire trade union movement, whose only purpose is designed to thrive and survive off the complexity of an industrial relations system that favours them—the Labor Party. We have decisions that need to be made about the future of aged care in this country, and they will come directly from this government's focus on the economy to deliver the services that people rightly expect.

Debate adjourned.