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representatives vote 2018-10-17#2

Edited by mackay staff

on 2019-01-25 13:29:43


  • Bills — Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018; Second Reading
  • Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018 - Second Reading - Government mismanagement


  • <p class="speaker">Kevin Hogan</p>
  • <p>Before debate is resumed on this bill, I remind the House that it has been agreed that a general debate be allowed that covers the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018. The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable member for Franklin has moved as an amendment that all words after 'that' be moved with a substitute other words. In continuation, I call the member for Eden-Monaro.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Mike Kelly</p>
  • The majority voted against a [motion]( to amend the usual [second reading motion](, which is a motion on whether to agree with the main idea of the bill.
  • The usual wording is: "*That this bill be now read a second time.*"
  • ### Amendment wording
  • > *That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:*
  • > *"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House notes the Government's mismanagement of aged care reform".*
  • <p>I was reflecting upon the enormous blowout in the waiting list for in-home aged care before I broke my speech on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018 and the related bill. It really is getting quite distressing for all of those people who are in these incredibly attenuated waiting periods now. People are dying, waiting for in-home care. It's just a completely unacceptable situation, and I'm getting feedback on that at every community forum, mobile office or interview I have around the region. Of course, this is exacerbated much more in rural and regional areas.</p>
  • <p>It's a shame that the coalition government did not build on what was the successful concept of the Living Longer Living Better program. I guess it's just another testament to the failures to build on Labor's initiatives in many areas in this respect. I'm also very proud of the investment that we put behind aged care along with that program. In Eden-Monaro we invested not only in facilities but also in relation to the workforce issues that have been presented to this country with the demographic challenge of an ageing population. I was very happy to get funding for the Bega and District Nursing Home&#8212;half a million dollars there is an example of facility support.</p>
  • <p>In relation to that challenge of the workforce, we are looking at a 300 per cent increase in demand over the next 30 years. That has to be met; we have to be planning for these sorts of skill challenges. Most of our good, full-time and rewarding jobs in the future may be in areas like the NDIS and health and aged care. So where is the plan for that? We're not seeing any plans in the Defence skills area either, frankly, or a plan for supporting the Snowy Hydro scheme&#8212;we know there are going to be 5,000 new jobs there. All of our TAFEs have been gutted, with the $3 billion that this government has cut from TAFEs. That has also been compounded by the damage that the New South Wales state government has done to TAFEs. This is heinous, in that we've seen a 140,000 loss in apprentices over that time.</p>
  • <p>In contrast to that, when we were in government we saw hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in training for the aged-care workforce in Eden-Monaro, including at the Eurobodalla Adult Education Centre, where $675,000 was dedicated to providing the skills and training that that workforce needed for the demand that was really increasing, particularly in my electorate. We have a number of aged-care facilities right around the region. Obviously, it's an attractive place for people to come to and retire to&#8212;to enjoy facilities in a beautiful environment, surrounded by caring communities. But they need that support.</p>
  • <p>The other aspect of it, of course, is not only the workforce but in relation to those facilities. There is a greater demand on the nature of those facilities. There is astronomical growth in dementia in Australia at the present time. In 2016 dementia became the leading cause of death among Australian females, for example, surpassing heart disease, and in 2018 we know there are an estimated 436,366 Australians living with dementia. And we're also seeing a lot of early onset dementia that we never used to see. There is a lot of speculation about the causes of that&#8212;of course, some of the baby boomers may have experimented with different types of cigarettes or whatever in their time&#8212;but, certainly, this growth in dementia is a huge problem.</p>
  • <p>That means we have to provide higher-end facilities to deal with that demand. I've talked to a lot of our aged-care facilities in Eden-Monaro, like, for example, Horton House Nursing Home and Warmington Lodge in Yass, where there is a lot of knowledge and experience that have been gleaned from international best practice in designing facilities and centres in that space. But it takes money, and we've got to be helping there. When you stump up to the budget that we've just had and say, 'We're putting an extra 3,000 home care packages out there,' but then you take that money from the residential care side of the budget, that's stealing from Peter to pay Paul. And it's hurting these aged-care facilities and their ability to deal with this huge challenge in the growth of dementia. Specifically in Eden-Monaro, we're looking at 3,110 people suffering from dementia in 2018, and that number is going to grow. It's projected to be, in 2028, 4,242 and, by 2058, 6,165. That's a huge challenge for our country and it's one that we must begin planning for in terms of facilities and workforces, because people dealing with those high-end needs really need particular training.</p>
  • <p>Obviously, when we see the state government pulling registered nurses out of aged-care facilities, like they're doing in New South Wales, there's a huge outcry. I've had meetings around my region. There was a huge forum in Merimbula, for example, with a very big roll-up of people from the sector and people trying to deal with the sector. The big things that were raised were exactly these issues: staff issues, in terms of the ratio to residents, and the heart-rending stories they tell you of being unable to sit with dying residents because they're now completely focused on tasks that they're getting paid for, in theory, with no extra ability to actually provide the human care and contact that the residents need. I've seen this firsthand through some personal experience, but they are telling the heart-rending stories of their inability to provide the basic human contact and service that our aged citizens deserve and earned. They've earned the right to be treated that way.</p>
  • <p>We talk about the great generation that suffered and delivered to us the peace, freedom and prosperity we enjoy. How are we looking after them now? What's the return for them on all of that sacrifice? The workers in those facilities also deserve our respect and our support. We've seen the horrendous images in the <i>Four Corners</i> reports, but there's a larger systemic issue. The royal commission that's being put in place needs to address and deeply dig down into the systemic issues that are causing the problems that have so shocked the nation.</p>
  • <p>People also complained about the My Aged Care portal. The government are trying to force a lot of stuff online now and so many of our citizens are not just capable with dealing with those types of online portals. They're really struggling with them. Their lives don't necessarily fit into the dialogue boxes that have been created. We know what a terrible record the government have with digital and online services, as my colleague the member for Chifley has highlighted on many occasions. My Aged Care is just another example of the failure of that digital service provision that the government are becoming notorious for. The meetings have been extremely useful but alarming. I put my hand up and say to those people we met at those forums: I thank you so much for providing your personal stories and information. We're feeding that into the policy process. Labor believe in providing you that help, and help will hopefully be on the way if we can win the next election.</p>
  • <p>The answer to these issues will require a budget strategy, clearly, and that brings me back to the tax reform suite of measures that Labor is proposing. It has been extremely honest and forthright and, some would say, brave in putting them forward to the community. We took the community at their word when they said they wanted politics to be more honest and they wanted respective governments to be honest with them and put forward policy, not come to government and then suddenly surprise them, like we saw with the Abbott administration, which said there would be no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no changes to pensions and no cuts to the ABC or SBS, and immediately proceeded to do all of that. This is a bit of a cautionary warning to the voters of Wentworth on Saturday: before the Griffith by-election, they all ran around and said, 'There's no plan for a GP co-payment. It's outrageous to assert there's a plan for a GP co-payment,' and what did they do after that by-election? Wham: they tried to go ahead with a GP co-payment. So, people of Wentworth, beware. When the government tell you they're going to do a review or do something or not do something, don't believe them.</p>
  • <p>With our tax reform measures, we will provide the budgetary support for the things that must be done, and that is why the dividend imputation reform is so important. I say to people who have raised this issue with me: think about your retirement income. In retirement, we know that, in the last three years of your life in particular, you will be drawing the most heavily on health services and aged-care services. That's when you're going to need it the most. We could have an American-style, dog-eat-dog, user-pays environment where you will be left to your own devices and it will completely destroy and eat into your retirement income, or this nation could do the right thing as Australians, who have always believed in providing you with that support so that it doesn't come completely back onto your income. So we need to do things like the dividend imputation reform to assist you with your retirement income and give you the support in your retirement that you have earnt. It's not like it is being taken away from you; it's being given back to you as security and support to get the health- and aged-care services that you will need, you will want and you will turn to government to provide. And there will be many more people turning to government to provide that.</p>
  • <p>This is the necessary reform that has to take place, and it's in areas like closing off tax loopholes, not increasing tax. We're talking about closing all those loopholes out there that the nation can no longer afford. You should not be able to claim this tax relief for tax not paid. It's quite simple and it's fair. So we're about fair tax reform at the same time as putting ourselves in the position to do good budget reform to enable ourselves to also invest in the health facilities, education and aged-care services of the future. That's what you're going to get from a Labor government, and the choice is very clear.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>