PM attacked for leaving Aussies ‘vulnerable’

 

Labor has accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of leaving Australia's elderly "vulnerable to the deadly COVID virus" by making cuts to aged care.

But Mr Morrison hit back in parliament on Wednesday, saying Labor's attack was "misleading".

The Aged Care Royal Commission, established under Mr Morrison, handed down a scathing report last year that called for more funding.

Opposition MPs attacked Mr Morrison during question time over aged care funding decisions he made in his previous role as treasurer.

"Why won't the Prime Minister take full responsibility for the consequences of his $1.7 billion cut to aged care, which made older Australians worse off before the pandemic and left residents of aged care homes more vulnerable to the deadly COVID virus?" Mr Albanese asked.

Mr Morrison condemned the criticism as "misleading".

"Our government has continued to increase funding in aged care every year by more than $1 billion," he said.

"You will see more in next year's budget, just as people have seen in every statement now going back several years, increased places made available, particularly in in-home aged care."

St Basil's Home for the Aged was hit hard by COVID-19 cases. A resident is transported back to the centre. Picture: Sarah Matray
St Basil's Home for the Aged was hit hard by COVID-19 cases. A resident is transported back to the centre. Picture: Sarah Matray

Mr Morrison went on to speak of his own family's tough decision to put his late father into residential aged care.

Health Minister Greg Hunt told the house the investment in aged care had increased from $13 billion to $25.4 billion since the previous government.

He said the number of home care packages would grow from 60,000 to 164,000 packages over the next four years.

"The elderly population has not doubled in that time but our funding has more than doubled," he said.

The interim report from the Royal Commissioners in October last year confirmed aged-care services in Australia were underfunded, mostly poorly managed, all too often unsafe and seemingly uncaring.

It called for "significant" extra funding for home-care packages "immediately" and in future years while noting the system was "unable" to deal with the high level of demand.

The government in November announced an extra 10,000 home care packages under a $537 million response to the aged care royal commission's damning findings.

Originally published as PM attacked for leaving Aussies 'vulnerable'


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