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Minister cannot ignore problems which put the safety of aged care residents' bonds at risk.



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Media Release Annette Ellis MP FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CANBERRA SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING AND SENIORS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISABILITIES

8 October 2003

Minister cannot ignore problems which put the safety of aged care residents’ bonds at risk

The Minister for Ageing today attempted to create the illusion that the regulations governing bonds are failproof, and ignored the underlying problems which threaten the financial stability of aged care facilities.

The government has allowed the financial crisis in the aged care sector to escalate, and this ultimately threatens the safety of accommodation bonds.

The Minister was asked, in Question Time today, how the Government will ensure that people always recover their accommodation bonds, even when an aged care facility becomes insolvent.

The Minister avoided the question, and argued that the bonds are safe under current regulations. This is simply not true.

Thankfully the overwhelming majority of aged care providers do the right thing by their residents, but that is not a good enough reason to allow some people’s bonds to be put at risk.

Aged care peak bodies have advised me that they are also aware that the regulations need tightening up, and that they have been trying to develop a solution to this problem over the past 12 months. I congratulate them for their efforts.

The industry has also highlighted to me that this problem is related to the funding crisis now facing the aged care sector.

Rather than denying that there is a problem, the Minister must look at the big picture and examine why facilities are struggling financially and what is causing them to go into receivership and liquidation.

The Minister must assure the sector that, following years of reviews and inaction, the Government will act immediately after it receives the report on the Pricing Review in the next few months.

For further information please call: Annette Ellis MP 0419 422 296 Victoria Toulkidis (Adviser) 0413 459 030