Summit report falls short

The Initial report on the Australia 2020 Summit has drawn criticism from the aged care industry.

Despite some constructive discussion about ageing issues at the weekend’s Australia 2020 Summit, the Initial Report from the two-day event has drawn criticism from a senior figure in the aged care industry.

In a public statement, Aged and Community Services Australia CEO, Greg Mundy said the report fails to recognise the significance of Australia’s ageing population.

The report contains only one explicit reference to ‘the aged’ and one mention of ‘retired people’ but talks frequently about the specific needs of children and families.

“That’s good, children and families are important,” Mr Mundy said in the statement. “But, so are older people and we are going to have a lot more of them!

“The report on A Long Term National Health Strategy refers to Australians ‘at all stages of life’ but all of the examples it refers to are children and people of working age.”

Mr Mundy acknowledged that the Summit did raise some valuable ideas for older Australians but said he was disappointed that these were overlooked by the draft report.

He told Australian Ageing Agenda that the skewed focus of the report demonstrated a “significant flaw in the whole exercise”.

“You get the suspicion that because aged care is not sexy, people tend to downplay it and that’s just not a sustainable approach,” he said.

“It’s something that definitely needs to be addressed going forward.”

The statement also highlighted the need for further research into the complex and interconnected conditions affecting older people, greater use of technology to enhance wellbeing and portable electronic health records.

Mr Mundy said he hoped some of these issues would be addressed in the full report on the Summit, due to be released in May.

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