The great debate: what they said

Yesterday’s aged care debate was the first of its kind to be held prior to a federal election since 2001. Here are some highlights from the debate participants.

The heavily anticipated election debate on the Grand Plan for aged care successfully brought together spokespeople from the nation’s three major political parties to discuss reform at an unsuspecting Mercy Aged Care chapel in Melbourne yesterday.

The aged care debate, organised by the Campaign for the Care of Older Australians (CCOA), was the first of its kind to be held prior to a federal election since 2001.

Moderated by ABC broadcaster, Peter Mares, the debate featured a five to seven minute speech by each speaker (federal minister for ageing, Justine Elliot; shadow ageing minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells; and Greens health and ageing spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert) followed by a period of question time.

Aged care representatives in attendance heard, first-hand, each party’s policy and each speaker’s proposals for change.

AAA was there to provide you with some highlights of the event.

One of the faces of Grand Plan campaign, Father Bob Maguire, officially welcomed the attendees and speakers:

“Politics is the art of the possible,” Fr Maguire said. “To make policy is one thing and to make [it] possible is another.”

Older adults, he said people should be able to stay in their chosen home “from the cradle to the grave”.

“It’s going to take funds and planning but we learnt from the bushfires that if we get on with the job we’d get it done. All of the projects required that people with power divulge power to where it can be best carried out and that is locally.”

Debate moderator, Peter Mares said opened the floor for discussion:

“Aged care does not have a high profile so far despite the high profile of the politicians we have here,” Mr Mares said.

“It’s surprising.”

Shadow ageing minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

(Click here to view the Coalition’s aged care policy plan)

In her speech she spoke of the Labor government’s “neglect of aged care”.
 
The Labor government has employed a “deliberate tactic to excise ageing and aged care from campaigning because older people never vote for us.”

Referring to the recent open letter to former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, from the Aged Care Industry Council (ACIC), published in the Australian newspaper, she said: “How sad that the sector has had to take out a begging letter [in the press].”

She focused on the “first ever aged care provider agreement.” She said it would provide “certainty and engagement for the aged care sector,” and will prove to be a “game changer”.

“The agreement would provide the sector with an interaction with government that has so far been absent.”

The key aim of the Coalition’s policy, she said, is to reduce red tape and allow nurses to get back to caring for residents.

 “As I have listened to you, have told me that during these last three years you have been neglected…Our approach will be to help to meet care needs now and in the future and to make sure that care of older Australians is not compromised.”

You need Adobe Flash plugin version 9.0.115 or
higher to view the videos on this site

Get it here, it will only take a minute (1 MB)

 

function SMGAddEvent(obj,evType,fn){if(obj.addEventListener){obj.addEventListener(evType,fn,false);return true;}else if(obj.attachEvent){var r=obj.attachEvent(“on”+evType,fn);return r;}else{return false;}}

SMGAddEvent(window, ‘load’, function (){
var smgPlayer = new SMGPlayer(140,0);

smgPlayer.SetWmode(“window”);
smgPlayer.Write(60541,500,350,’smg_player_60541′);
});

Shadow ageing minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

 

Greens spokesperson for health and ageing, Senator Rachel Siewart:

(Click here to view the Greens’ plan for aged care reform)

“We know that we have a great demand for aged care,” Senator Siewart said. “We know that we are ill-prepared to meet that demand. We need to plan for that now. There is no use in us saying, ‘let’s keep on going’…and expect everything to be alright by 2050.”

The Senator called for immediate structural reform and future preventative health measures to be implemented.

She said that there was too much doom and gloom surrounding the sector and too much negativity about the ageing population: “How do we change our workforce practices to ensure that our older people can age in place? How do we value people’s role in our non- government organisations? How do we value our workers in the community?” These are all key questions we answer in our policies.”

Senator Siewart said she would decrease the wages gap for aged care workers and benchmark the cost of care.

“Key thing is to benchmark what the cost of care is in order to then fill the gap.”

She said that there was no point in delivering more beds as it “won’t work if you are not dealing with other structural matters…You can’t do one without the other”

“If we don’t start planning now about how we value our aged we are going to be facing a very big crisis in the future and we don’t want that.

“A strong community values its elders and that’s what we need to be doing.”

Minister for ageing, Justine Elliot:

The minister said that it is her party’s aim is to “build a truly nationally consistent aged care system… I know it has been promised but only a Gillard government can deliver on reform that is needed to build an aged care system of the future.”

The Minister said that people and access to services rested at the centre of labor reforms for aged care.

“A Coalition government would throw out COAG and move backward on all we have done over the past three years.”

She referred to the commitment her government has made to up skilling the aged care workforce, both now and in the future. She also referred to the fact that under Labor, funding for aged care has increased around 30 per cent in the last term which is “almost double that was spent during the Coalition government”.

“When it comes to aged care we have a Gillard government dedicated to reform.

“We stand on our record of introducing reform for aged care.

“Our record is very strong, we are proud of it”
 
“We know that we have a great demand for aged care,” Senator Siewart said. “We know that we are ill-prepared to meet that demand. We need to plan for that now. There is no use in us saying, ‘let’s keep on going’…and expect everything to be alright by 2050.”

The Senator called for immediate structural reform and future preventative health measures to be implemented.

She said that there was too much doom and gloom surrounding the sector and too much negativity about the ageing population: “How do we change our workforce practices to ensure that our older people can age in place? How do we value people’s role in our non- government organisations? How do we value our workers in the community?” These are all key questions we answer in our policies.”

Senator Siewart said she would decrease the wages gap for aged care workers and benchmark the cost of care.

“Key thing is to benchmark what the cost of care is in order to then fill the gap.”

She said that there was no point in delivering more beds as it “won’t work if you are not dealing with other structural matters…You can’t do one without the other”

“If we don’t start planning now about how we value our aged we are going to be facing a very big crisis in the future and we don’t want that.

“A strong community values its elders and that’s what we need to be doing.”

Minister for ageing, Justine Elliot:

The minister said that it is her party’s aim is to “build a truly nationally consistent aged care system… I know it has been promised but only a Gillard government can deliver on reform that is needed to build an aged care system of the future.”

The Minister said that people and access to services rested at the centre of labor reforms for aged care.

“A Coalition government would throw out COAG and move backward on all we have done over the past three years.”

She referred to the commitment her government has made to up skilling the aged care workforce, both now and in the future. She also referred to the fact that under Labor, funding for aged care has increased around 30 per cent in the last term which is “almost double that was spent during the Coalition government”.

“When it comes to aged care we have a Gillard government dedicated to reform.

“We stand on our record of introducing reform for aged care.

“Our record is very strong, we are proud of it.”

To hear the one-hour forum, tune into ABC Radio National’s Peter Mares program, the National Interest on Friday 13 August at 6pm and again on Sunday 15 August at midday.

An edited package from the debate will also feature on the Aged Care Channel on Monday 16 August at 10.45am. 

The same video package will be available on the Grand Plan wesbite tomorrow , together with a survey the Grand Plan would like you to complete

 

Father Bob Maguire with  federal minister for ageing, Justine Elliot; shadow ageing minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells; and Greens health and ageing spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert.

 

Above: Minister for ageing, Justine Ellitot with aged care residents after the debate.

Below: ACAA CEO, Rod Young; Eldercare CEO Klaus Zimmermann; & ACSA CEO, Greg Mundy

 

Tags: abc, aged, care, ccoa, debate, grand, great, plan,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *