Response to Aged Care Royal Commission ‘ignores’ urgent needs, will cost lives

By Melissa Coade

Thursday May 13, 2021

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says Australia needs to be part of international commitments for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to net zero by 2050. 
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The advocacy group Doctors Reform Society (DRS) has said it is ‘extremely disappointed’ with the aged care spend outlined in the federal budget.

Despite Tuesday’s budget announcing what DRS president Dr Tim Woodruff says is ‘dramatically increased funding’, the problem is that most of that investment is a promise for the future and money is needed to address issues today.

“[The response] basically ignores the most immediate and pressing recommendations of the Royal Commission,” Dr Woodruff said. 

“Various estimates of the cost of addressing the aged care disaster range from $7-10 billion a year. This parsimonious ‘big spending’ government has only found about $3 billion per year.”

One of the most urgent recommendations made by the Royal Commission called for the clearing of a waiting list for the Home Care Package by the end of this year. But Dr Woodruff says this advice has been flagrantly ignored and not enough money has been allocated to the program, let alone to achieve clearing the list by 31 December 2021.

“[The government] has adopted increased contact hours recommended but delayed the changes from 2022 to 2023. 

“What’s a year in the life of someone with a life expectancy of a year or two? To a neglectful government, not much it seems.”

The Doctors Reform Society represents members who are doctors and medical students to support health care reforms that ‘ensure justice, equity and quality care for all regardless of social or economic status’. It was established in the 70s to push for universal health care.

Dr Woodruff added that the budget demonstrated the government was more interested in shovelling money into a ‘fossil fuel funded recovery rather than care for the neglected aged care sector’.

“Sadly the priorities are elsewhere” Dr Woodruff said. 

“The neglected will remain neglected, just slightly less. Many will be dead before any significant changes occur.”   


The Briefing: Budget 2021 promises big on aged care, but is it enough?

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