Aged care stakeholders have congratulated the re-elected Morrison government but reiterated calls for a Cabinet position for the sector’s minister and urgent action on key issues.
The Coalition looks certain to hold 78 seats after last Saturday’s federal election, allowing a re-elected Prime Minister Scott Morrison to lead a majority government.
There has been no news on whether Ken Wyatt will retain his aged care minister role and with only a few Coalition aged care election promises, it could be mostly business as usual for the sector.
During the election campaign the Prime Minister committed to $34 million to establish an Aged Care Workforce Research Centre, $10 million to address loneliness among seniors and $10 million to create a dedicated network of Aged Care System Navigators to assist seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (read more here and here).
However, the Coalition made no promises in relation to the big issues, such as residential aged care funding or the home care queue, despite the campaigning from aged care stakeholders left feeling let down (read more here and here).
Aged care peak body Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney congratulated the prime minister on the Coalition’s win and called on him to honour his commitment to build a culture of respect for seniors.
“If the Prime Minister is serious about this commitment to older Australians he must now elevate the responsible minister into Cabinet,” Mr Rooney said.
He said Prime Minister Morrison must make aged care a priority for his government and do the following:
- fix the funding emergency in residential care and commit to ensuring it meets the growing costs of delivering high quality care
- legislate maximum wait times of no more than three months for home care services
- invest in workforce growth and development
- develop a comprehensive national ageing well strategy.
“Reform of the aged care system must focus on the fundamentals that will make the aged care system better,” Mr Rooney said.
This needs to happen now while the royal commission continues, not after it finishes, he said.
Similarly the CEO of fellow aged care peak Aged & Community Services Australia, Patricia Sparrow congratulated Prime Minister Morrison on his re-election and called for action to relieve pressure on service providers and users.
She said ACSA was disappointed the royal commission was used as an excuse to delay urgent reforms during the campaign, but was also feeling optimistic about what could be achieved through the national conversation underway about ageing and aged care.
“The incoming Morrison Government has a responsibility to relieve the significant pressures on services for older Australians right now,” Ms Sparrow said.
She said ACSA would deliver an incoming government brief to the aged care minister as soon as the post was confirmed.
“We won’t be waiting for the royal commission to push for action. The reality that must be faced both by our sector and the incoming government is that currently, not everyone in Australia is getting the aged care they need,” Ms Sparrow said.
There needs to be a better plan for ageing and for the ageing population, she said.
Both peak bodies said they would work with the Morrison government to make the aged care system better.
During the campaign, Mr Morrison also committed a Coalition Government to:
- prioritising the goal of reaching 475,000 aged care workers in Australia by 2025
- aged care being the first sector to a pilot a program under the government’s $41.7 million Skills Service Organisations package to support future jobs growth
- expanding the Community Visitors Scheme for aged care residents and home care clients.
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