Another day, another $75 million budget hole from Tony Abbott

Posted on August 1, 2010


Another day, another $75 million budget hole from Tony Abbott

Justine Elliot posted Sunday, 1 August 2010

Tony Abbott’s aged care announcement today highlights why he cannot be trusted with health and aged care services, or with the nation’s finances.

There is no new money for aged care services in Tony Abbott’s announcement today – only cuts to services and a $75 million budget hole.

Included in the savings to pay for the Coalition’s aged care package is $150 million from the National Health and Hospital Network – Aged Care – supporting long stay older patients measure included in the 2010-11 Budget.

However, if Mr Abbott had read the Budget papers he would know that the forward estimates only contains annual funding of $37.5 million for two years for this measure (see Budget Paper No. 2 2010-11, p.224) – leaving Tony Abbott’s aged care package with a $75 million budget hole.

Apart from budget holes, the only sure thing Tony Abbott’s aged care policy will provide is cuts to services. An Abbott Government would cut:

  • $98.4 million for improving access to GPs and primary care in aged care homes – which will support approximately 300,000 GP and primary care services to aged care recipients over the next four years;
  • $241.4 million for transition care places, which will support up to 30,000 people each year regain their independence and return home following a hospital stay;
  • $165 million for Zero Real Interest Rate loans which will support up to 5,000 aged care places coming on line more quickly.

And true to his form as Health Minister when he completely ignored workforce shortages, leaving the country with a shortage of 6,000 nurses – Tony Abbott has shown a complete disregard for the pressing workforce needs of the aged care sector.

Who does Mr Abbott think will staff the 3,000 places he wants to bring on line more quickly?

Tony Abbott has shown today he doesn’t get health and aged care services

In contrast, a re-elected Gillard Government will invest more than $900 million in providing better aged care services to elderly Australians. Unlike Tony Abbott, Federal Labor has a plan to:

  • build a nationally consistent aged care system by taking full funding and policy responsibility for aged care services;
  • improve access to GP and primary health services for elderly Australians in aged care;
  • support the aged care workforce, helping nurses and aged care workers to upgrade their skills and qualifications;
  • support providers to make long-term capital investments in delivering aged care;
  • establish one-stop shops for aged care information and assessment, making it easier for elderly Australians and families to access the information and services they need;
  • introduce greater consumer choice for older people in need of aged care; and
  • provide greater protections for older Australians receiving care.

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