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Be informed: What are political parties offering for aged care this Election?

The Federal Election is fast approaching with ballots to be lodged on Saturday, 21 May. There are so many political parties to choose from on the voting cards, but do you know what parties are putting forward to benefit aged care and older Australians?

With the Federal Election days away, you should be well researched into who you are planning to vote for. [Source: Shutterstock]

Leading up to the Election, you should also be checking about policies and promises from political parties and candidates that will benefit you and what you believe in.

Talking Aged Care has collected the promises and commitments of major political parties so far that will impact the aged care sector and the lives of older people.

Liberal Party of Australia (LP) (Current sitting Coalition)

The Liberal Party has just delivered its Federal Budget, that provided $10.1 billion in funding over the next year for the aged care sector, including an additional $468.3 million that will go towards the Coalition's aged care reform response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

This Federal Budget informed what the party will offer if re-elected in late May.

Some of these policies, commitments and promises include:

  • Promises to guarantee Medicare and improve access to medicines, support public and private hospitals, deliver record funding for mental health, prolong life through medical research, and invest $273.1 million to expand the Continous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) initiative for Type 1 diabetes
  • A once-off $420 cost of living tax offset for low and middle-income earners
  • No person on the Age Pension will be forced onto the Cashless Debit Card (CDC)
  • $2.1 billion for a Winter Response Plan, which will help with managing cases of COVID-19, including provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) in aged care
  • Better access to cheaper medicine with fewer scripts for free or discounted medicines
  • $345 million to pharmacy services in aged care to improve medication management for residents
  • $14.3 million to expand aged care health and medical training in five rural locations across Australia
  • Within the current five year plan for aged care reform, this year will include 40,000 new Home Care Packages, 48,000 training places, 7,000 new care workers, and 8,400 respite services
  • Increase in nurse and carer minutes with aged care residents
  • People over the age of 60 who wish to downsize can make a contribution of up to $300,000 into their super fund from the sale of their home
  • Work to reduce power prices

Read the full overview of the Budget and how it benefits the aged care sector and older people on Talking Aged Care.

To find out more about the LP's promises for the election, head to their website.

Australian Labor Party (ALP)

In response to the Coalition's Federal Budget, Labor outlined its own Budget which will inform actions if the party is elected in May.

The ALP has promised to fix the issues in aged care and has five main policies it believes will ensure quality aged care. The budget response from Labor included an extra $2.5 billion aged care sector pledge on top of what the Liberal Party announced.

Some of the policies, commitments and promises from the ALP include:

  • Registered nurses on-site at aged care facilities 24/7
  • Improvement of the aged care workforce through training and university placements, retention measures and overseas nurse recruitment
  • Mandate for 215 minutes of care every day per aged care resident
  • A pay rise for workers in aged care and support of the Fair Work Commission case
  • Improving food quality in aged care for residents by developing and implementing mandatory nutrition standards for nursing homes
  • Measures to ensure all money going towards aged care is being spent in aged care
  • Giving the Aged Care Safety Commissioner more powers to ensure accountability and integrity in the sector
  • A cap on Home Care Package administration and management fees
  • Introduction of tougher penalties and transparency measures in aged care
  • Creation of a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund that will build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties - 20,000 homes will benefit low-income people including older women at risk of homelessness, and 10,000 homes will target nurses and aged care workers
  • Deliver at least 50 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics to take pressure off of emergency departments
  • Re-instate bulk-billed psychiatry telehealth consultations in rural and regional areas

Read an overview of what Labor has promised for aged care and older Australians if elected on Talking Aged Care.

To find out more about the ALP's promises for the election, head to their website.

Smaller political parties

The Nationals (NATS) (a part of the Coalition Government)

Some of the policies, commitments and promises from The Nationals (including Coalition promises) include:

  • Tackle cost of life pressures through fuel cost reductions and increasing housing affordability
  • $4.6 billion over four years to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including in relation to aged care
  • Invest $14.3 million to expand aged care health and medical training in five rural locations across Australia
  • Greater investment in regional infrastructure
  • Building a better health system with more doctors and health specialists in regional areas
  • No new taxes on retirees or superannuation

To find out more about the Nationals's promises for the election, head to their website.

Australian Greens (Greens)

Some of the policies, commitments and promises from the Greens include:

  • $6 billion per year to increase hours of care from 2 hours and 50 minutes per resident, per day to four hours and 18 minutes a day per resident
  • Phasing out 'for-profit' aged care providers
  • Guaranteeing a human rights based approach to aged care, including physical and chemical restraints
  • $260 million to clear the Home Care Package waiting list
  • Making dental care funded and accessible on Medicare
  • Making telehealth services permanent on the Medicare system
  • $4.8 billion to make mental health fully covered under Medicare

To find out more about the Green's promises for the election, head to their website.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation

Some of the policies, commitments and promises from One Nation include:

  • Increasing the Work Bonus scheme cap with a $100 a week rise for people on the Age Pension, which would allow pensioners to earn up to $13,000 a year without impacting their pension
  • Advocating for pension entitlements to be only available to people who have lived and worked in Australia for at least 15 years
  • Opposing an increase to the age of entitlement for the Age Pension to 70 years of age
  • Commitment to prevent "rorts" of health systems, like aged care

To find out more about One Nation's promises for the election, head to their website.

Centre Alliance

Some of the policies, commitments and promises from the Centre Alliance include:

  • Opposing an increase to the Age Pension age
  • Relaxing income tests so that pensioners can supplement their income without penalty
  • Commitment to older volunteers being covered by a Government funded insurance scheme
  • Belief that utility cost increases should not increase above the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and any increase above CPI should be rebated back to those on the pension or self-funded retirees at eligible pension age
  • Encouraging affordable, comfortable and well-maintained retirement and aged care accommodation
  • Belief that retirement accommodation providers must meet all Government requirements, and provide transition accommodation options to residents who may require low or high care facilities in the future. These options should be close to the retirement estate
  • Belief that preventative health care should be a Government priority
  • Belief that telemedicine should be expanded in regional areas to improve specialist medical care
  • Commitment to increase the superannuation guarantee from 9.5 percent to 12 percent

To find out more about Centre Alliance's promises for the election, head to their website.

The United Australia Party, Katter's Australian Party and Jacqui Lambie Network do not have specific policies or commitments for aged care or older Australians.

To get coverage of the upcoming Election, subscribe to the Talking Aged Care Newsletter.

What are you looking for in the upcoming Election? Tell us in the comments below.


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