17 September 2018

It's interesting that at last this government has decided something is terribly amiss in aged care. For the entire term of this government we on this side of the House have heralded concerns. This government, as soon as it was elected, abolished the aged-care supplement, which was put in place by a Labor government to help providers pay decent wages to the wonderful workers in aged care, who, interestingly, don't aspire to another job, as the ex-Prime Minister said, but aspire to have the resources and abilities to care for their patients. After that, this government cut $1.6 billion from their budget. It froze the Aged Care Funding Instrument last year, and this year the indexation of funding for patients with complex care was cut by 50 per cent. Patients with complex care are the hardest patients and the most vulnerable patients that our carers need to look after.

As a nurse, I know what these funding cuts mean. I know what it's like to be a carer or nurse in aged care and not be able to deliver the care that you want to to your patients because there aren't the resources and the funding there to help you do it. Aged-care nurses and their unions have been screaming out for reform and resources, a call that has been completely ignored by this government. They need resources so they can continue to do the best job they can for their patients and their residents. If there is a royal commission, when this royal commission starts, it has to start by examining and dealing with the neglect of this government with regard to funding the aged-care sector properly.