Today the Gillard government finally responded to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into aged care. While the headline figure of $3.7 billion sounds impressive, the actually amount of new money to be spent is $577 million. The rest is a result of means testing and of simply cutting funding from one part of the sector and re-directing it to another.
“Everyone, except for full pay pensioners will now pay more for their aged care. The changes won’t start until after 1 July 2014, so the pain will not be felt until well after the next federal election,” said Senator Fierravanti-Wells.
Like all Labor’s announcements, the devil will be in the detail.
“This government has a very poor record of delivery. It is big on announcements and spin, but poor on delivery especially given its history with school halls and pink batts.
One big missed opportunity out of today’s announcement was the lack of commitment to reducing red tape for the sector. This is something the sector has been urgently demanding.
“Under the Gillard government’s aged care reforms, what is clear though is that more means testing will mean older Australians having to pay extra for their aged care needs.”
The Coalition welcomes the admission of Labor’s short-sightedness and the confirmation that it will once again make Dementia a National Priority, as it was under the Howard Government in 2004.