What’s happening in Canberra
Thank you Jane Halton (COTA Australia Chair) for your warm welcome.
I acknowledge the Hon Julie Collins. Senator Rachel Siewart, it’s always good to see you. I know you often challenge me and I’ve enjoyed watching your debates in the other place. Emeritus Professor Anne Edwards; Ronda Held, who is the Executive Coordination Group Chair for COTA; Ian Yates, who I feel is like a coat - I see him so often in this place that I feel as though I should put him across my shoulder and carry him. But it’s always great to see Ian in here - he’s a champion for senior Australians and I thank you for the work that you do.
You can’t believe a word Labor says about aged care – under the Coalition, aged card funding is up, home care packages are up and residential aged care places are up.
Caring for senior Australians – including those who need aged care support to remain living independently in their own homes – is one of our Government’s top priorities.
The latest home care report shows that more than 95 per cent of people approved for home aged care services are receiving or have been offered home support.
The latest home care report shows increasing choice in home-based care for senior Australians, with almost 92,000 now receiving home aged care packages, a record annual growth rate of 29 per cent.
The Home Care Packages Program Data Report (1st Quarter 2018–19) highlights how the Morrison Government is maintaining its commitment to provide more senior Australians with subsidised care and support, so they can continue to live in their own homes for longer.
he 2017-18 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Act and marks a period of landmark changes, with more to come.
The report highlights the progress of the unprecedented reform agenda, driven by our Government.
Last financial year, the Australian Government spent a total of $18.1 billion on aged care on a range of services for more than 1.3 million senior Australians.
I am delighted to be with you this morning.
It is great to have the opportunity to speak about the Australian Government’s new Aged Care Quality Standards.
Make no mistake the Government is steadfast in its commitment to improve the quality of aged care provided to our senior Australians.
The implementation of the new Standards is a key element of transforming this commitment into a reality and we want to work closely with the sector to make this happen.
A new era in Australian aged care is beginning, with legislation passing Parliament to establish the nation’s first, independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
The unified new Commission will begin operations on 1 January 2019, with funding of almost $300 million over four years, including an additional $48.2 million to expand monitoring, secure aged care quality and employ a network of dozens of additional senior compliance officers.
The theme of “our grandchildren’s grandchild” is very apt, given the time that has elapsed since the settlement of all of our nations; the impact that it’s had on individuals, on families and communities; the displacement; the policies that governments put into place that were detrimental to our culture. Because what we have to remember is our culture is the essence of who we are.
I have talked to so many people on the ground who are waiting for transplants. People who talk about the impact on their family. I met a couple who allowed me to sit in on their specialist consultation in Sydney. He invited me into the room and allowed me to look at his liver images and how it had reduced.
But the most telling comment came from his wife, who said: I’ll be glad when we find a liver donor.”
I acknowledge the many distinguished speakers here, particularly those who have travelled long distances from Canada and New Zealand.
I also thank the Centre of Best Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention at the University of Western Australia, for bringing together this importance event.
Unfortunately, high rates of suicide are an issue for First Nations people across the world.
In 2016, the Turamarama Declaration was endorsed at the inaugural World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference in Rotorua in New Zealand.
Since then, this Declaration has travelled the globe.
I also wish to acknowledge AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, and the work of the Australian Medical Association to improve the health of First Australians, as well as the broader population.
I thank the AMA for its 2018 Report Card on Indigenous Health – the latest in a series of respected reviews on this critical issue, that I believe is everyone’s business.