Crook calls on Government to reconsider aged care cuts
Posted on Friday, 21 September 2012
O’Connor MP Tony Crook has called on the Government to urgently provide assistance to Western Australian aged care providers, and to reverse its decision to cut funding to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI).
In a speech to Parliament yesterday, Mr Crook said that both sides of politics had a responsibility to urgently address the concerns of the aged care sector, and to consider the unique challenges being faced in regional Western Australia.
“I have consulted with aged care service providers in my electorate, and there are some who are really struggling – there are service providers who may not survive these changes.
“The service providers in regional WA face many pressures, including skills shortages, upward wage pressures, increased operating costs, as well as cost pressures associated with the tyranny of distance. The Government has failed to acknowledge these circumstances when making the all-of-industry slashes to the ACFI.”
Mr Crook’s speech was welcomed by Mr Stephen Kobelke, the Chief Executive Officer of Aged Care and Community Services Western Australia (ACSWA).
“Aged care service providers in regional Western Australia are at a real tipping point; we urgently need more support from Canberra.
“The industry is grateful for the leadership that Tony Crook has shown on this issue, and we will continue to work with Tony to improve the conditions of regional aged care service providers in Western Australia,” said Mr Kobelke.
During yesterday’s parliamentary speech, Mr Crook specifically mentioned his meetings with Julie Christensen, Chief Executive Officer of Narrogin Cottage Homes and Karinya Residential Care and Susan Harris and Jillian Nalder from the Board of Warratah Lodge in Wagin.
“Both providers are operating on cost neutral budgets, and the cuts to the ACFI are threatening the viability of these services.”
Mr Crook implored all Members of Parliament to de-politicise this issue, and to work together in the interests of caring for older Australians.
“It is important to remember what this debate is really about. It is about caring for older Australians. It is a debate about our parents, our grandparents, about our community leaders and in many cases, about the pioneers of our regional and rural communities.
“I have invited the Shadow Minister to my electorate to speak with these service providers first-hand, and I look forward to ensuring that the alternative Liberal National Government properly protects regional aged care service providers.”