“Time to care about aged care” is the slogan of a national campaign formed yesterday to promote an overhaul of the Australian aged care system.
The campaign, run by six peak bodies forming the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC), will target 30 electorates with high percentages of older voters to call for government to follow the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations.
AACC representatives Sean Rooney and Patricia Sparrow said aged care providers were anxious for action on the Royal Commission findings.
Home care demand, residential care demand, under-staffing and funding are among the campaign’s areas of concern. Citing the Royal Commission, the campaign found that the 1.2% of Australia’s GDP – spent on aged care – is “about half of what other comparable countries (spend) on looking after their most vulnerable older citizens,” Ms Sparrow said.
Mr Rooney said the residential aged care sector was in crisis with 64% of homes operating at a loss in 2020.
“Under-resourcing of the aged care system has been growing for a long time, and is not the fault of any one government or Parliament,” he said.
“But it is the responsibility of all Parliamentarians to recognise the injustice and inequity of maintaining a system the Royal Commission described as ‘a shocking tale of neglect’.”
Targeting Voters for Better Aged Care
The campaign will focus on the 30 Members of Parliament who represent Australia’s “oldest” electorates, by age.
Of these seats, 15 are marginal, containing 814,950 voters aged over 55.
The current Minister for Aged Care Greg Hunt holds Australia’s eighth ‘oldest’ electorate, Flinders, in Melbourne, with 50.7% of voters aged over 55.
Similarly, the Opposition’s former Minister for Aged Care Justine Elliott holds the sixth ‘oldest’ electorate in Australia, Richmond, on the NSW north coast, with 51.4% of voters aged over 55 years old.
“The 30 Members of Parliament who represent Australia’s ‘oldest’ electorates have the greatest opportunity to represent the needs of their communities, so that older Australians are finally given the respect, resources and support they deserve,” Mr Rooney said.
The six peak bodies of the AACC are Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and UnitingCare Australia.
The Royal Commission Final Report will be released on February 26.