Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Federal Labor Government is dismissive of regional elderly people and their communities by expediting his aged care reforms, Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Health Anne Webster says.
The Prime Minister has said his Government “makes no apologies” for being ambitious in enforcing 24/7 registered nurse staffing requirements on the aged care sector by July 1 despite the reality of the thin workforce. This is despite the Royal Commission saying the reforms needed time.
“Australian College Of Nursing Chief Executive Kylie Ward says it could take 5-10 years to recruit enough staff to meet the target but the Government continues its push, which will see more aged care facilities in danger of closing,” Dr Webster said.
“This disproportionately impacts our regional elderly, particularly in Mallee. If their home closes they can’t just move to one in the next suburb.
“The rapid reforms risks our elderly being uprooted from their community and sent in some cases 100kms away from family – and that is not how to treat those who deserve dignity and comfort at this stage of their lives.”
The Prime Minister’s remarks come after Aged Care Minister Anika Wells last month conceded not every facility would be fully staffed by the July 1 deadline.
“If you have the Minister admitting the requirements won’t be met, and then the Prime Minister refusing to apologise for that – what sort of message is that sending our regional aged care providers?” Dr Webster said.
In Mallee, Dimboola’s Allambi Elderly People’s Home Inc has already been forced to close its care facility, unable to meet the staffing requirements.
‘Donald’s Johnson-Goodwin Memorial Homes, Minyip’s Dunmunkle Aged Care and Maryborough’s Havilah Hostel have all raised concerns regarding staffing and the new requirements directly with me,’ Dr Webster said.
“These are quality facilities, local institutions now stuck in limbo,” Dr Webster said.
“Meanwhile the Prime Minister makes his grand statements about reform without confronting their realities.”