Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on ageing today said that any broad funding cuts to the aged care sector would be highly detrimental to already stretched service providers.
“It has been suggested that the Government is considering a $2 billion cut to aged care services in the upcoming Federal budget. I have no doubt that such a move would cause significant problems in the sector and would lead to a reduction in the care provided to older Australians,” Senator Siewert said today.
“This is particularly insensitive at a time when the Government is planning a tax cut for big business.
“A cut of this nature is a knee-jerk reaction to the increasing cost of aged care in Australia. It aims to save money in pursuit of an arbitrary budget surplus, but misses the point that there is a real need for reform
“It is more cost effective to make considered refinements or reforms to the sector that deliver better care for older Australians.
“As our population continues to age, the challenges faced by the sector will only increase. The Government needs to be smart about this, not take broad action such as cutting funding in such a dramatic way.
“I really don’t know how this issue could be made any easier for the Government to understand - many aged care providers are past breaking point and major, across the board changes could cause a great deal of damage.
“I hope the Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler will fight any such proposal in Cabinet.
“Responsible financial management is of course important, especially during times of global instability, but this simply cannot occur at the expense of important services in areas such as aged care, health, disability or community services,” concluded Senator Siewert.