In a press conference held on the site of a state-of-the-art aged care facility in Queensland, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reiterated his government’s pre-election commitment to fix the sector.

Speaking at the Rockpool Residential Aged Care site in Carseldine, Brisbane, Mr Albanese said: “During the campaign, Labor committed, in my last Budget reply, to a five-point solution for aged care.”

The pledges include:

  • nurses on-site 24/7
  • minimum of 215 minutes of care per resident
  • better food and nutrition
  • better pay for the aged care workforce
  • improved transparency.

“What we said was we can do better, we must do better, that older Australians deserve dignity and respect in their later years,” continued Mr Albanese.

Asked when more nurses would be entering the sector, the Prime Minister replied that it was a priority pledge. “We know that will require training and skill development. I made very clear that it will require, as well, looking at some element of migration to fill skills shortages.”

Describing the Rockpool facility as “world-class”, the PM praised its amenities – which include cafes and a cinema – and its unique design.

The Rockpool site has been awarded a 5-Star Green Star design rating and is the first aged care facility in the country to be purposely co-located next to a kindergarten. “If you’re sitting here having lunch, [residents] will be able to watch the kids outside playing sport, be able to see that activity and interact.”

Highlighting the training staff had undergone to care for culturally and linguistically diverse residents, Mr Albanese said: “It’s particularly important that we have that experience and that training for staff in order to deal with it in a culturally sensitive way, including issues like food as well as language,” he said.

Attending the press event with Minster for Aged Care and Sport Anika Wells, the Prime Minister said that the country needed to respect older Australians. “It’s something that the government is determined to do, and it is something that Anika has been given the brief.”

The Rockpool site – which opens in August – gives Australians hope that there is a better future for aged care in the country, said Ms Wells. “Something that I know standing in the rain for 10 days at pre-poll was one of the core reasons that Australians entrusted us, the Albanese Labor Government, with their vote.”

The electorate wanted Labor to turn aged care around, she added. “And here, so quickly, we can point to what the future looks like in aged care.”

And not some hypothetical future, said Mr Albanese. “It’s something that’s here right now, in this building. And when people come here, they’ll experience that better future. So, what we’re aiming for isn’t, you know, some fictional hope. It’s something that can be done, is being done here – and needs to be replicated.”

Main image: artist’s impression of Rockpool Residential Aged Care facility

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2 Comments

  1. Top class facilities are a start but do not in any way guarantee quality and person-centred and wholistic care provision. And while some of our elders may enjoy watching and interacting with children they have no family or kin connection to, why do we (stereotypically) assume that’s what all elders want in residential aged care (or bingo, crafts, sing alongs and so forth). The difference will be made when we adopt a human rights approach to caring for our elders, support a better paid and more highly trained carer workforce, and give our elders access to high quality allied health expertise with less reliance on pharmacy that quietens and restrains and risks the health of our elders with side effects and polypharmacy risks.

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