Australia’s aged care system is in crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted this while exacerbating the problem. To date, 568 residents of aged care facilities have died already from coronavirus and sadly this number will increase.
The media has detailed story after story of neglect and abuse in our aged care homes. More than 50,000 cases of assault and abuse in aged care across the country go unreported each year. This state of affairs in inexcusable and completely unacceptable.
For many years now the crisis in aged care has been obvious to anybody who cared to look. Sadly the Morrison Government had plenty of warnings yet chose to ignore them.
Here are some examples of the recommendations and warnings that the Coalition Government chose to ignore:
– The Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendation to introduce a serious incident response scheme to respond to cases of assault and abuse.
– The Aged Care Royal Commission’s 2019 Interim Report (entitled ‘Neglect’) recommendations.
– The Newmarch House Report’s findings.
On top of this, Morrison refuses to take responsibility for the $1.2 billion he cut from the aged care sector when he was Treasurer. Unsurprisingly, he also refuses to hold the Aged Care Minister to account for his neglect of the sector, even in the wake of censure by the senate.
The Morrison Government currently has no plan for fixing our aged care system and all the while elderly Australians are suffering and dying.
Labor has a plan to address the obvious issues that are putting older Australians in aged care at risk including:
- Minimum staffing levels in aged care
- Making sure those staff have access to proper training
- A better surge workforce strategy
- More transparency
These are all practical measures that are in accordance with what the Aged Care Royal Commissioner’s called for last year.
Scott Morrison needs to take the politics out of this and invest in our vulnerable Australians now. They have earned it.
In the meantime, I will continue to fight until the Morrison Government starts to fix this broken system and give older Australians the care, dignity and honour they deserve.