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Actions speak louder than words.

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334a Marrickville Road, Marrickville NSW 2204 Phone (02) 9564 3588  Fax (02) 9564 1734 Parliament House: Phone (02) 6277 4031 Fax (02) 6277 8445

Sunday, 14 April 2002

Actions speak louder than words Addressing the Liberal Party faithful today John Howard trotted out one of his most well worn phrases ‘that the ageing of our population is one of Australia’s biggest challenges’.

Howard and his previous four Aged Care Ministers have all been ‘talking’ about the challenges for six years but sadly the only action they have undertaken was in 1997 when Peter Costello was allowed to rip $500 million out of the Aged Care system from which it has never recovered.

At the core of planning for an ageing Australia must be an efficient and effective Aged Care system that ensures that all older Australians are able to spend their final years in safety and with dignity.

Despite the Herculean effort performed by many in the Aged Care industry the current system set up by this Government does not ensure this.

Contrary to Mr Howard’s assertions, many Australians are ‘panicked’ by the thought of getting old and infirmed because they know the truth, there are not enough beds in nursing homes and there are not enough care staff to look after them.

This is a fact that the Prime Minister and his team should be deeply ashamed of.

At the last election the Government promised to spend $200 million on Aged Care - pending the outcome of a review. It is now six months since the election and the Government has been silent as to when the review may even start.

In his speech today Mr Howard chose to ignore the fact that in his first term his Government announced a National Strategy for an Ageing Australia whose remit included addressing aged care issues, older workforce participation issues, and retirement income policies.

Mr Howard said merely that his Government needed to now “recognise that policies are needed to allow older Australians to contribute longer and more positively both through work and other activities ….”

Taxpayer may well ask why they paid the salaries of the four Aged Care Ministers who worked on the Phantom Strategy or why they had to pay for the Strategy document to be printed and launched twice if the Government was only going to start to think about it as of today!

For more information: Anthony Albanese 0419 777 597 Annie O’Rourke 0438 279 368

Anthony Albanese MP Federal M ember for Grayndler Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors