Minister concerned about crucial service for elderly
THE Labor candidate for Flynn and Labor's spokeswoman for Ageing are calling on the government to address the region's home care package "crisis".
Shadow Minister for Ageing Julie Collins said the service was limited by government funding and a lack of it forced elderly citizens to enter residential homes prematurely.
Recent figures indicated 569 people within the Fitzroy region were on the home care package waiting list despite spending on aged care services having increased each year since 2011-12.
Flynn Labor candidate Zac Beers said the Federal Government and Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd were not prioritising an ageing population.
"These are people who deserve to live with dignity and they deserve to live with appropriate quality of care to make sure they can enjoy their life," Mr Beers said.
Ms Collins visited Gladstone yesterday following Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement on October 9 of the terms of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
She said her visit highlighted concerns regarding waiting times for packages, with some waiting more than two years, and the potential for further delays caused by the royal commission.
She said most on the waiting list needed higher level packages with more intensive support and larger government subsidies.
Mr O'Dowd said the government invested about $18.6 billion in aged care this year, with funding to increase by an average of 6.4 per cent each year over the next four years.
"Since the introduction of the (Increasing Choice) reforms, over 130,000 home care packages have been released and continue to be released at a rate of over 3000 per week," Mr O'Dowd said.
Government figures in the 2016-17 year revealed expenditure on residential care was 2.7 times the amount spent on home care.