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Opposition puts high care bonds back on agenda



The Coalition has raised the controversial idea of introducing resident bonds into high care for the first time in over ten years.

Both major parties have refused to commit to the politically sensitive bonds over the past decade despite the recommendations of Professor Warren Hogan in his 2004 Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care, and repeated lobbying from the industry.

But the Shadow Minister for Ageing, Margaret May told the ABC that bonds in high care were necessary to avoid a critical funding shortfall across the industry.

Mrs May said the accommodation bonds would need to be re-marketed in order to sell the idea to consumers.

“When this has been raised in the past I don’t believe it has been marketed properly,” she told ABC radio.

“I don’t believe the model that has been put on the table, or any models that have been put on the table in the past, have been acceptable.

“What I want to see is a model that is accepted by the community and is accepted by the Government.”

The Federal Coalition Leader, Dr Brendan Nelson was more circumspect but did not rule out the introduction of bonds for people entering residential aged care with high needs.

“The system desperately needs new money and new ideas if it is to offer the standards that older Australians deserve,” Dr Nelson told The Courier Mail.

High care bonds have remained a political hot potato since the Howard Government was widely criticised for flagging the concept in 1997.

Speaking at last year’s Aged Care Association Australia National Congress, former Howard Government advisor Arthur Sinodinos said the media backlash at the time was very strong.

“All of us who were involved in the process [of trying to introduce high care bonds] do bear the scars of that experience,” he said.



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