Aged care will finally get its chance to revel in the election spotlight when representatives from the three major political parties go head to head in a great debate on the Grand Plan for aged care next week.
Federal minister for ageing, Justine Elliot; shadow ageing minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells; and Greens health and ageing spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert, have all agreed to engage in a battle of election promises at an aged care facility in Melbourne on Wednesday 11 August from 10am.
The aged care debate, organised by the Campaign for the Care of Older Australians (CCOA), will be the first of its kind to be held in the lead up to a federal government election since 2001.
Chair of CCOA, Greg Mundy, said that the event will go a long way to open up a real conversation about aged care reform.
“We are looking to the government to give a commitment to resourcing the shorter and longer terms,” Mr Mundy said.
“The Greens won’t be in a position to form a government but they will be in the Senate.
“The Coalition has committed to short and longer term resourcing but we want to push them on the content…We don’t really know their philosophies and we don’t have a sense of what direction they will take.”
Moderated by ABC broadcaster, Peter Mares, the debate will feature a five to seven minute speech by each representative, followed by a period of audience question time.
It will provide the politicians with a keenly intent audience and the platform to discuss their aged care policies. On the other hand, attendees will be able to hear first hand, ask questions about what each party proposes to do reform the sector.
“I will certainly be encouraging the politicians to make statements of substance because statements of waffle don’t go down well with people,” he said.
“The people like to hear substance not spin. They have a political job to do but the clearer and more specific they are the better and the more the people will like it.”
Although the event will be invitation-only, CCOA aims to make the debate available to the general public, online.
“We hope to raise the profile of aged care issues in the election by showcasing them through this debate. People can hear what they are and they can make up their own minds.”
CCOA is a joint effort by Australia’s leading aged care organisations. It represents over 95 per cent of Australia’s community and residential aged care organisations that provide care and services to over 1,000,000 elderly Australians.