Abbott commits $200 million to dementia research

The Coalition has pledged to boost dementia research by a further $200 million and extend access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, if it forms government -news that has been broadly welcomed by stakeholders.


Coalition’s campaign launch on Sunday

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has made his pitch to older voters, announcing increased access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and an extra $200 million in dementia research funding, if elected.

At the Coalition’s campaign launch on Sunday, Mr Abbott said an incoming Coalition government would index eligibility thresholds for the health card by the consumer price index to allow more self-funded retirees to access cheaper medicines.

The policy is expected to extend access to up to an additional 20,000 people in 2016-2017, at a cost of $100 million over the forward estimates.

The Opposition said the current threshold of $50,000 income for singles and $80,000 for a couple has not been increased since 2001.

Indexation would occur annually in September each year, with the first indexation to take place in September 2014.

Mr Abbott also announced an additional $200 million over five years for dementia research coordinated through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The opposition leader said the policy would allocate priority funding for dementia research projects in the health and aged care sectors and increase the number of early career research, postgraduate and career development scholarships for dementia researchers.

As part of the total package, $9 million would be allocated to the Clem-Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research.

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) welcomed the commitment and said it represented a five per cent increase to the entire NHMRC budget over the next five years.

President of the AAMRI Professor Brendan Crabb said Australia has excellent capability in dementia-related research and this funding boost would help these researchers further their work.

Alzheimer’s Australia also commended the announcement and said the organisation has been calling on both of the major parties to make aged care and dementia a priority. Alzheimer’s Australia President Ita Buttrose said the additional money would provide hope to future generations for a medical breakthrough.

COTA Australia said older Australians would benefit from both of the Coalition’s policy announcements.

However COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said many self-funded retirees have continued to express concern to COTA about the Coalition policy to partly-fund the Paid Parental Leave Scheme through loss of franking credits on the 1.5 per cent tax levy.

“Seniors are calling on the Coalition to urgently review the funding of the Paid Parental Leave policy as it is likely to cost an average self funded retiree over $1,000 every year. That makes it harder to ensure their retirement funds last,” he said.

Carers Australia releases election platform

Ellen Holmes, young carer from Tasmania, with CEO Carers Australia, Ara Cresswell.

Meanwhile, Carers Australia launched its election campaign today at Parliament House calling on all parties to maintain dedicated support programs for unpaid carers across Australia.

CEO of Carers Australia Ara Creswell said the organisation was concerned about a perception that aged care reform and DisabilityCare Australia would reduce the need for carer supports such as counselling, respite opportunities, education and training and referral to community support groups.

“Not all Australians suffering from chronic illness and other significant impairments who rely on family and friend carers for to day-to-day support will be eligible for packages under the disability scheme,” she said.


Tags: carers-australia, commonwealth-seniors-health-card, dementia-research, election-2013, tony-abbott,

1 thought on “Abbott commits $200 million to dementia research

  1. Whist I think that it is great that $200m will go towards dementia research we need to understand that old age isn’t just about dementia and the LNP should have broaden their aged care policy to those already living in RACF, the aged care staff looking after them (eg pay increase, training and ratios etc), those already living at home and stopping age discrimination in the work force, just to name a few. The LNP should also consider the people aready living with dementia and the care that they require.
    While I am optimistic that there will one day be advances in treating dementia it will be useless for the here and now and what point is it when care staff are too busy and stretch for time to deliver the service.

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