As the federal government slashes $500 million from funding for residential aged care, Western Australia’s not-for-profit aged care provider Amana Living pledges to fight the cuts.
Just days before the commencement of the 2012/13 financial year, at a time when care providers had settled their own budgets for the coming year, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, made the “devastating” announcement of a $500 million cutback to residential aged care funding.
Amana Living is apparently at the forefront of the battle to protect the state’s vulnerable older people from the impact of this decision.
“Although the government’s aged care reform plan only generated $577 million of additional funds for the whole of Australia, spread over a five-year period, it did include positive initiatives such as those designed to boost provision of care in people’s own homes,” Amana Living chief executive, Ray Glickman, says.
“Imagine then our amazement and consternation when Mr Butler announced in mid-June the federal government was slashing $500 million from subsidies for residential aged care,” he said.
According to Mr Glickman, at about the same time, the government found $400 million of unbudgeted funds to support the health system and rail yards in Tasmania, where the government needs to “shore up” the vote of independent MP, Andrew Wilkie.
“This decision has clearly been made so that the government can deliver on its budget surplus promise – which effectively means one third of the surplus is coming at the expense of elderly, vulnerable Australians,” Mr Glickman claimed.
“As the aged care sector is already seriously underfunded and straining under the cost pressures for labour, power and food prices in the WA resources boom state, there is only so much that can be done by providers, and the impacts of this deplorable decision are bound to be felt,” he added.
Amana Living is supporting Aged & Community Services Western Australia in condemning these cuts and opposing the government’s reform package, as it will clearly not generate the funding required in maintaining and developing a quality aged care system for “our parents and grandparents”.