PM changes his mind

Senior Labor figures have confirmed that the CAP will be extended in this year’s budget, according to reports.

Just days before the Rudd Government’s first budget, News Limited journalists have reported that the Prime Minister has changed his mind and guaranteed the continuation of the Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP) beyond June this year.

The article said senior Government sources had confirmed that the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot had lobbied cabinet members including the Prime Minister, on behalf of the sector.

The 1.75 per cent indexation payment was introduced by the Howard Government in the 2004-04 budget to help operators provide high quality care and pay staff more competitive wages.

The CAP was originally going to be paid over four years but the industry has been lobbying for its extension because of funding shortages and the phased introduction of the Securing the Future package.

The industry expressed frustration when neither major party committed to a CAP extension in the lead up to last year’s federal election.

Concerns have increased in recent months when the Minister for Ageing refused to comment on when questioned about the CAP.

In a February statement to Australian Ageing Agenda, Justine Elliot said: “Any change to the future funding of the Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP) is a matter for consideration by the Government in the context of the Budget.  It is a long standing principle to neither confirm nor deny what is, or is not, part of the budget process.”

The Shadow Minister for Ageing, Margaret May said in a statement that the Government’s failure to commit to the CAP in the first place showed it did not care about older Australians.

“My question to the Rudd Government is why was a cut to aged care funding even on the table?” she said.

“It’s a serious question that can’t be allowed to go unanswered.” 

Tags: budget,

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