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Monday, May 23, 2022

Budget a ‘considered and complete’ response to royal commission: Birmingham

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Finance Minister Simon Birmingham believes the Morrison Government’s $17.7 billion funding package into aged care is adequate, as a key commitment in last week’s big spending Federal Budget.

The funding is spread over four years, while aged care advocates, economists and the opposition say it should have been more like $10 billion a year.

“We stand by this as being a very considered and a complete response to the royal commission,” Birmingham told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

Describing it as a reform package, he says it guarantee minimum care times, bed places, transparency, auditing and safety.

But he says there will be further elements in response to the recommendation for new care delivery from 2023 and the Government is going through the process of building that new model. 

“It’s not just about the dollars, it is also about the reforms,” the minister said.

“It’s how you use the dollars and what you do with them.” 

Birmingham said by the time an additional 80,000 home care places are introduced over the next two years, the total number since the coalition were elected will have grown by 227 per cent.

But Labor spokesperson for aged care, Clare O’Neil, said the new spending is not as impressive as it sounds.

“We have had eight years of gutting of funding for aged care,” she told Sky News.

O’Neil said two-thirds of residents are “literally starving” under the care of this Government, while the aged care work force is chronically under staffed and underpaid.

“Unfortunately, what we see is that commitment that’s been made by Government isn’t actually going to fix those problems,” she said.

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