The Shadow Minister for Ageing has criticised Justine Elliot for “refusing” to answer questions about bed numbers in Western Australia.

Margaret May accused the minister of cutting 689 beds from the state in the latest aged care approvals round.

When asked on Monday about the shortage of high care beds Perth, the minister talked about the “record funding” for aged care under the Rudd Government.

She said the government would invest over $2.6 billion in Western Australia’s residential aged services over the next four years.

“Indeed, the latest aged care approvals round saw a total of 1,544 new aged-care places for Western Australia,” Mrs Elliot added.

The following day the minister was asked a similar question and again she outlined the allocations for Western Australia.

“Indeed, the latest aged-care approvals round saw a total of 1,544 new aged-care places for Western Australia,” said Mrs Elliot.

“It consisted of 519 residential aged-care places, as I pointed out yesterday – 414 were high care and 105 low care – and 1,025 community care places worth over $50 million in annual recurrent funding.”

But Mrs May said the minister’s responses equated to “passing the buck”.

“Minister Elliot obviously missed Kevin Rudd’s memo in 2007 when he told the nation that the buck stopped with him in relation to health and hospitals,” she said in a statement.

“It is gross incompetence that after two years in office, two budgets and two questions in two days that Minister Elliot still refuses to take responsibility for the crisis facing aged care.”

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