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Older Australians have missed out in the 2019 budget
April 3, 2019
Older Australians have missed out in a raft of measures in the 2019 Federal Budget, according to Phillip Wohlers, CEO of the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria.
He said the gaps, from no additional home care packages, no action on oral and dental healthcare, no movement on Newstart, no retirement incomes review and nothing more to assist older people in vulnerable housing or who are homeless, all pointed to the very real need of a national strategy for older Australians.
“We have a situation where there is a $7.1 billion surplus and at the same time, older people are missing out on crucial support and residential care providers – like OCAV – are trying to deliver quality care on diminishing budgets,” Mr Wohlers said.
“It appears that we are waiting for the Royal Commission to deliver its findings and recommendations before further investment is made.”
Mr Wohlers said that OCAV was supportive of the need to improve compliance and quality but the Government also needed to provide resources now.
“Reform is needed but there are also many opportunities to deliver better aged care. What is urgent is a national discussion about the kind of care the nation wants, how to provide it and how to fund it. This budget does not take that into account,” Mr Wohlers said.
OCAV says that while the federal government has recommitted to previous pledges on affordable housing, setting aside more than $1.7 billion towards state projects, the budget papers contain limited new policies addressing the issue.
“This is of enormous concern to us given our mission to house and support older Victorians in need. Over half of our 450 residents were vulnerably housed or homeless before moving to one of our villages, our wait list grows, and we are acutely aware of the rising numbers of older single women who are homeless,” Mr Wohlers said.
In its election platform, OCAV has called for a national ageing and aged care strategy, including increasing the Newstart allowance, and a retirement incomes review.
Mr Wohlers said that the news to support the roll-out of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy was welcomed, as was the removal of thework test for superannuation payments for those aged 65 and 66.
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