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Transcript of joint doorstop interview: Bundaberg, Queensland: 30 October 2018: aged care crisis: home care package waitlist



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THE HON JULIE COLLINS MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING AND MENTAL HEALTH

MEMBER FOR FRANKLIN

SENATOR ANTHONY CHISHOLM

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

RICHARD PASCOE

LABOR CANDIDATE FOR HINKLER

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

BUNDABERG, QUEENSLAND

TUESDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2018

SUBJECTS: Aged Care Crisis, Home Care Package Waitlist.

RICHARD PASCOE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR HINKLER: Talking to people

around aged care issues you hear some very devastating stories. We’ve been

talking to workers, we’ve been talking to families over the last couple of weeks in

this area. Significant issues around funding, significant issues around care. We

know that the workforce is doing their absolute best. They’re putting in the extra

time and working with the people and the residents - but more needs to be done in

the area. Disappointingly what we’re also hearing is that there are 471 people

around Bundaberg and the Wide Bay area that have been approved for a home

care packages but have not yet received those packages through to them. They

are part of over 10,000 Queenslanders that are still waiting to receive that

assistance.

JOURNALIST: Obviously there is the Royal Commission at the moment - is this a

hold up, do you see it as a hold up?

PASCOE: It should definitely not be used as an excuse to hold up. There is a lot of

things that can be done now to improve aged care. The Government needs to act

on those things it can now and not use the Commission as an excuse.

JOURNALIST: What things would you see, what actual solid things would you see

change immediately?

PASCOE: Transparency is definitely a massive issue that needs to start to occur

immediately. Where is the money being spent? How is it being spent? What are

they doing with their staffing to ensure at night time, during the day, residents have

access to quality care, they have access to nursing staff, and that their loved ones

feel confident in that?

JOURNALIST: This number that you’ve also spoken about today, 471 I believe, do

we know if that’s more or less than say the last year or 10 years before?

JULIE COLLINS MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING AND MENTAL

HEALTH: We know that the Government has not dealt with the Home Care

waitlist. We know that in this area 471 people are currently waiting without any

package at all. So that means that they are not even getting a lower level package

than they are entitled to. So the number, if you look at the number of people not

receiving the package that they have actually been approved for, would be much

higher than that. 121,000 older Australians are today waiting for home care

packages, over 10,000 here in Queensland. This list has grown in the last 12

months - prior to that the list did not exist. The lists exists because of Labor’s Living

Longer Living Better reforms last time we were in Government. It has been

implemented by this Government but again, the Morrison Government has

implemented policy badly and they should respond today to the things they know

are broken today in the aged care system. There are more than a dozen reports

sitting on the Minister’s desk today with recommendations about things he could fix

today. What we don’t want to see and certainly the workers we spoke to today, and

families we spoke to today who have loved ones in care in this area here in

Bundaberg, they want to see action today, they don’t want to wait 2 years for their

loved one who’s currently in a facility to get better care.

JOURNALIST: Does Bundaberg sit above the state average, or below the state

average, in terms of the number of people waiting on that list?

COLLINS: Sadly the number of people waiting on that list is devastating right

across Australia and the thing that we know is that people waiting on that list end

up in residential care before they should, or even if they don’t want to. Or they end

up in emergency departments in hospitals. That is not good for anybody and it

costs everybody more, and we want to avoid that.

JOURNALIST: But in Bundaberg do we know if there are more or less? How are

we sitting in comparison across the state?

COLLINS: Well 10,000 across Queensland is an extraordinary number. You look

at any area, particularly in this regional area, because of the higher older

population there are more people waiting. What we want to see is the Government

deal with the home care waitlist in some way or another. We saw in the last federal

budget that the Government said it would release 14,000 packages. We don’t

know whether those 14,000 packages have been released and the Government

needs to be clear and transparent and open with the public about who is waiting,

where they’re waiting and how long they’re waiting for.

JOURNALIST: What does a home care package include?

COLLINS: The home care packages range in Levels - 1 to 4 - 4 being the highest.

It can provide a range of services from assistance with general grooming, so

showering, feeding, it can provide support to go for outings for shopping, it can

provide support with minor home maintenance. But it can involve a lot more care

than that depending on the level of need of the person that has been assessed for

the package. People are assessed by an assessment team. They are then

approved for a package. They then go on a waitlist until a package becomes

available. Many of the people waiting in Bundaberg and around the country today

are people that are waiting for Level 3 and 4 packages. They are high care

packages. These people are very vulnerable. They need a lot of support and that’s

why they’re ending up in emergency departments or residential care because they

can’t get the home care package that they’ve been approved for.

JOURNALIST: When were the numbers released?

COLLINS: The numbers are supposed to be released quarterly by the

Government. We expect in November to get an update on those numbers. The

Government has continually delayed the last two releases of data. That is despite

the Department giving us a date for the release of the data. It was snuck out last

time on the eve of the NRL and AFL grand final weekend here in the country and it

was almost as if they were trying to sneak out the figures in the hope that people

didn’t notice quite frankly. People deserve to hear the truth and the Government

should be honest about the people that are waiting on that list.

SENATOR ANTHONY CHISHOLM, SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND: The only

thing I’d say is it’s good to be here with Richard and thanks Julie for coming up as

the Shadow Minister. It’s really important that Labor is listening to the community

here in Bundaberg. What we do know is that this Government has been in power

for 5 years. Keith Pitt has been the local member here for 5 years and they’ve

done nothing to actually rectify these problems. So it will be our job to absolutely

hold them to account and put as much pressure on the Government - with

Richard’s help as a candidate - to put pressure on them to deliver before the

election. We can’t let them get away with calling this Royal Commission and then

doing nothing. There are things that they can do now, as the Shadow Minister

outlined. We’ll be to put as much pressure on Keith Pitt as the local member to do

that.

JOURNALIST: What would you promise? What are you promising if Labor was to

win the next election?

COLLINS: We’re listening to workers in the sector, to older Australians currently

outside of the aged care sector and inside the aged care sector about what they

think we should do immediately, what will make the biggest difference. We

obviously have read those reports and recommendations and we’re developing our

policy and will be making some announcements prior to the election.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: LIAM CARSWELL (COLLINS) 0438 469 119

NATHAN JOHNSTON (CHISHOLM) 0488 176 452