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Where are the Territory's aged care beds?

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Where are the Territory’s Aged Care beds?


Northern Territory Labor Senator, Trish Crossin has accused the Federal Government of showing a callous indifference to the plight of the Territory’s older citizens regarding waiting times for aged care beds.


“In today’s Senate Question Time Senator Vanstone, on behalf of the Aged Care Minister said that Mrs Bishop was doing everything she could to resolve the situation. The Minister is doing nothing,” Senator Crossin said.


“The Minister must be aware that the Northern Territory has the longest waiting times for aged care beds in Australia, with the Territory’s waiting time almost doubling in the last two years,” Senator Crossin asked.


“In 1996/7 the waiting time was only 56 days. Now the average waiting time for an aged care bed in the Northern Territory is 104 days, compared with the national average of just 55 days,” Senator Crossin said.


“In the past two years the Federal Government has allocated 132 beds in the Northern Territory, none of which are currently available. Of these 116 beds have been allocated to the Moran Group,” Senator Crossin said.


“In 1999 66 beds were allocated to the Moran Group. However, as of two week ago the plans for building the aged care facility hadn’t even got to the Development Consent Authority. It is obvious that these aged care beds will not be available, as required under the Act, by November 2001.


“It is also a serious cause for alarm that the Moran Group, who were allocated all of the NT aged beds in 2000, have indicated they will be handing back their most recent allocation of 50 beds because of their failure to secure capital works funding for their aged care facility.


“We have a crisis on our hands and Minister Bishop has simply shrugged off the problem saying if the Moran Group doesn’t take up the recent allocation of 50 beds within the allotted time, (which is by 2002), then the Department will explore other options for allocating the places.


“In the meantime Territory families are being placed under a great deal of pressure because of the shortage of aged care beds,” Senator Crossin said.


“This Federal Government is directly responsible for the waiting time problems. It has failed to ensure that the allocated beds become available for the people who need them


“I would also like to know where Territory CLP Senator Grant Tambling stands on this issue.

A few weeks ago he told Territorians he would be having urgent talks with the relevant Minister to rectify the problem. So what’s happening, Grant? We would love to know, and so would those Territorians who have a family member desperately waiting for an aged care bed,” Senator Crossin said.


Ends.                29/03/2001