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Election time is commitment time

Political parties in South Australia and Tasmania are being encouraged to use the upcoming state election as a time to “demonstrate a commitment” to older Australians through the promise of policies to strengthen aged care services.

SA and TAS will be heading to the polls in March (Source: Shutterstock)
SA and TAS will be heading to the polls in March (Source: Shutterstock)

In South Australia the calls for policies that support individual access to health services palliative care and affordable housing, among other pressing needs for older South Australians, is coming from national aged care industry peak body Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA).

ACSA Chief Executive Officer Pat Sparrow says there are specific areas the future elected government needs to address, adding that the state Governments also play a “key role” in ensuring older Australians are treated equitably and are able to access the health services that the rest of the population can, especially those in rural and remote regions.

She adds that the issue of workforce training across the State also needs to be addressed in the time between now and the March 17 election date, particularly as aged care is such a large employer now and into the future.

“Issues to do with access and resourcing affecting the aged care sector in South Australia affect all South Australians,” Ms Sparrow explains.

“Aged care, and adequate provision and access to care in the future, is a big issue in the State of South Australia where the population is the oldest on the mainland and employment in health and community services is the second-largest area of employment for South Australians.

“There needs to be greater recognition by all political parties of the importance of future-proofing the access and provision of aged care for the benefit of all South Australians.

“All levels of government need to get behind industry’s efforts to develop the future aged care workforce and, in turn, grow the South Australian economy and access to essential aged care services with it.”

ACSA’s push for a more older-person-centred approach from local politicians isn’t isolated, with Council on the Ageing South Australia (COTA SA) also stepping forward to offer their own recommendations ahead of the election.

COTA SA noted that South Australians aged over 50 will make up more than half of the voters in the upcoming election, so they encouraged conversations and surveys with older people across the state to find out what they need and want.

From this research, COTA SA discovered isolation, access to health services, affordable transport and housing stress to be priorities for older members of the state that need to be addressed.

Chief Executive of COTA SA, Jane Mussared, calls on politicians in the lead up to the state election to improve the quality of life for older South Australians by acting on recommendations.

“Considering that over 50s make up half of South Australia’s eligible voters, it is important to consider their needs when it comes to election programs and policies,” she says.

South Australian politicians are not the only ones in the country to come under fire during election time, with Tasmanian candidates too copping some backlash over policy and funding commitments to tackle dementia.

Dementia Australia put together their own list of ‘recommendations’ that they would like to see come into play during and after the Tasmanian election, set to be held on 3 March.

Chief Executive officer of Dementia Australia Maree McCabe says it is essential that dementia is declared a state health priority and says the national organisation believes that by working in partnership with the Tasmanian Government they can reduce the costs associated with dementia while still being able to improve the lives of all people impacted by it.

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