The sector has refocused its gaze, away from upcoming federal government election and towards a post-Saturday future, following a disappointing aged care election campaign from both Labor and the Coalition.
The Campaign for Care of Older Australians (CCOA) has ranked how well the aged care campaigns of the Greens, Labor and the Coalition rated against the objectives of The Grand Plan in its 2010 Policy Report Card, issued today.
Overall, neither of the parties’ aged care policies managed to measure up to CCOA’s policy wish-list although the Greens performed better than any other electoral group.
CCOA chair, Greg Mundy, said that he believes Saturday’s election result will not generate what is actually needed for older Australians and the sector as a whole.
“Do we have an adequate proposal on the table to deal with the issues facing aged care in future?” said Mr Mundy.
“…[The political parties] have acknowledged some of the challenges in meeting the needs of older Australians without committing to policies that will fix aged care services to deliver what older people need and expect.
“At best they have proposed more trials, time limited funding measures and deferred major decisions…
“The thing is that aged care deserves to be a more prominent issue than what it has been because of the number of people that it affects.”
Mr Mundy said that the sector was not asking for a “blank cheque” but in the least it had expected the Coalition and Labor to make a stronger commitment to fix the problems of an ailing aged care system.
The situation however, is not all bad, as the report card did feature several pluses.
The report card highlighted that the Greens’ policy had demonstrated a sound understanding of the issues and reforms needed in aged care. Both the Greens and the Coalition were rated for committing to short-term funding although the Coalition failed to perform on the aged care workforce front.
The election score card also made note of the current government’s strong record of health reform via COAG, “as well its commitment to make all aged care programs the responsibility of the federal government and the establishment of a national aged care access and assessment service.”
Aged care, Mr Mundy said, has also had more prominence in the 2010 federal campaign than it has had in the previous 2007 and 2004 elections.
“It’s not all gloom and doom in a sense, as we do have the Productivity Commission with good Terms of Reference and competent people to run it. But, that’s in the future and the report card is about what the parties have put on the table [in the lead up to this election].
“Committing to the process is good but committing to an outcome is what we need.”
Mr Mundy said that following Saturday’s result, CCOA’s focus will shift towards the upcoming Productivity Commission inquiry.
“We will help the commission to come up with good recommendations- a recipe for the future- and ensure that the political ground is fertile enough [to enable the future government] to pick up the recommendations.
The report card stated: “…More than a million older people, their families and more than 300,000 aged care workers are relying on the next government to deliver significant reforms in aged care.
“The real work – creating and implementing a Grand Plan for aged care – starts on Monday. It has to be the right plan.”
View the 2010 Policy Report Card on The Grand Plan’s website by clicking here.