On the eve of the aged care royal commission, the government announced $662 million in aged care funding, in a move that could be described as a pre-emptive strike but is also being dismissed by Labor and seniors advocacy groups as too little too late.
Just ahead of the first eye-witness accounts of aged care misconduct being heard this week at the royal commission, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed a new package to bolster the troubled sector, which includes $282 million to help older Australians stay in their own home for longer, as well as a $320 million general subsidy increase over the next five years.
The package should deliver an extra 10,000 home care packages for those who want to age in place rather than an aged-care facility.
“We need to have a culture of respect and care and that’s why I announced the royal commission into aged care. It’s why as Prime Minister and treasurer I have delivered thousands of additional home care places,” said Mr Morrison.
“These places give older Australians the choice about how and where they want to live their lives.
“Older Australians have worked hard all their life, paid taxes and done their fair share, and they deserve our support.”
However, more than 120,000 Australians are on the home care package waitlist and around 5000 are added each year. Also, aged care advocates are saying the package is disappointing as it doesn’t guarantee that staffing or training will be lifted.
“It is disappointing there are no conditions attached,” said Council of the Ageing Australia chief Ian Yates.
And Labor aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins said the package did not make up for cuts from the sector made by the Coalition over the past five years.
“Scott Morrison’s election eve announcement on aged care funding is too little too late,” said Ms Collins.
“The waiting list for home care has grown to 127,000 older Australians, with many waiting more than a year to receive the care they have been approved for.”
Critics are saying that the funding is too little too late, which will become even more apparent once the royal commission commences. Even the Prime Minister has warned Australians the evidence presented in the hearings could come as a shock to many Australians.
“I think we should brace ourselves for some pretty bruising information about the way our loved ones, some of them have experienced some real mistreatment,” said Mr Morrison.
Do you think this extra funding is too little too late? Or is any added funding for the aged-care sector well received? Do you consider this a pre-emptive strike to soften the blow of what’s to come?