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Minister leads providers up the garden path.



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Margaret May MP

Federal Member for McPherson Shadow Minister for Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

27 February, 2009

MINISTER LEADS PROVIDERS UP THE GARDEN PATH

“Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, must explain how many aged care facilities will be eligible for the Solar Hot Water and Insulation Rebate,” Shadow Minister for Ageing Margaret May said today.

“On 24 February the Minister announced that aged care facilities would be eligible and encouraged providers to apply for both the Solar Hot Water and Insulation Rebates.

“During Senate Estimates, the Minister’s department revealed they only became aware that aged care facilities were eligible 24 hours earlier.

“The Minister’s own Department were unable to answer basic questions regarding the announcement and were clueless when asked how many aged care homes in Australia were eligible for the Rebates.

“The guidelines released on Thursday clearly state that no business or organisation is eligible for either rebate.

“The guidelines also exclude all aged care homes run by State and Territory governments.

These guidelines clearly exclude every aged care home in the country from applying for the rebates.

“The Minister owes aged care providers an apology and must immediately issue a statement correcting her previous misleading statement.

“The aged care crisis will not be fixed by empty promises and misleading statements,” said Mrs May.

Media Enquiries: Damian Marwood 0429 493 296

Solar Hot Water Rebate guidelines: http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/renewable/solarhotwater/pubs/shw-guidelines.pdf Insulation Rebate guidelines: http://www.environment.gov.au/energyefficiency/pubs/hip-guidelines.pdf

On Monday Feb 23 Office of Margaret May is informed by Minister Elliot’s Chief-of-Staff that aged care homes are not eligible for the Solar Hot Water or Insulation rebate

On Tuesday Feb 24 Minister Elliot announces that aged care homes are eligible and encourages homes to apply.

During Senate Estimates the Department revealed the following: The Department of Ageing became aware of nursing homes eligibility for the rebates from the Department of Environment on Tuesday 24 February They were not aware as to how many aged care homes are insulated/partially

insulated/no insulation They were not aware as to how many aged care homes would be eligible for the Solar Hot Water Rebate They were not aware as to how many aged care homes would be eligible for the

Insulation Rebate They had no idea as to what the possible costs of extending the rebates to aged care facilities will be They were not aware as to whether an aged care home would be eligible for a

single rebate or one rebate per resident.

On Thursday Feb 26 the Solar Hot Water and Insulation Rebate guidelines were released. 2 important lines are: Rebates will not be eligible where: the applicant is not an individual (for example

where the applicant is a business or other organisation); the dwelling where the system is installed is state or territory public housing or is owned by a state or territory government;

 There is a big difference between an ‘aged care resident’ and a ‘tenant’  Persons living in an aged care home are defined as ‘residents’ for the purpose of the Aged Care Act. Upon entering an aged care facility they sign a ‘Residential Agreement’  A tenant signs a ‘Residential Tenancy Agreement’.  A Residential Agreement for aged care purposes protects the resident from a forced

eviction.  While Tenants are eligible for the Rebates, Residents are not. Is the Minister defining aged care residents as tenants?