Ahead of federal elections, aged care groups in Australia have been urging Government and political parties to bring about serious reforms in the aged care sector in Australia. The recent reports of maltreatment of aged care nursing home residents have further sparked outrage amongst people, and there has been a growing concern over the adequacy and quality of aged care in Australia.
Here is the fact check. 6 million Australians are aged 50 years or above. In next 40 years, a fourth of Australia’s population will be aged 65 years and above. This means, we need an aged care system that is equipped to provide for the needs of around 3 million frail and vulnerable people. Going by the current state of affairs, we have a long way to go.
As Australia goes into election this weekend, it is important that we see what both parties have in store for the aged care nursing sector. The recent $3.7 billion aged care reforms package announced by the Australian Government was unanimously passed by both houses, and was welcomed by the aged care nursing services providers and the general population. The package is aimed at developing ways to test home care facility, to improve Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care, and to motivate the nursing staff.
As far as aged care reforms are concerned, there is not much of a difference of opinion between the Labor party and the coalition. The Sunday’s debate between both party leaders showed unanimity amongst the parties as far as their stance on aged care nursing services is concerned. Both believe that aged care nursing is an important issue and needs some serious policy reforms.
Here is what Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had to say on the issue, “Aged care is a vital issue, and it’s important that you’ve raised it here. It is a growing challenge for the country as our population ages. And any country worth its salt is seeking to deal with this in an effective way.”
On the other hand, the coalition leader Tony Abbott focussed more on eradicating the red tape in the aged care nursing sector. He said,” Our policy will be about reducing the paperwork that aged care providers face. On this issue there isn’t an enormous difference between the Coalition and the Government.”
The coalition leader also said that the funds kept aside for increasing the wages of aged care and dementia and Alzheimer’s care nursing workers should be added to the aged care reforms fund. This would mean putting back $1.6bn into the aged care fund, and not giving any wage hike to the workers. This statement has not gone down well with the nursing associations.
Aged Care Australia Where Do The Two Parties Stand?