Coalition leaving older Australians waiting

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines has called out the Coalition government for leaving thousands of older Australians languishing on waiting lists for home care packages.

Visiting Westmont Aged Care at Baranduda near Wodonga today, Dr Haines said she would push the next federal government to commit to delivering home care packages for older people in Victoria’s North East within 90 days of assessment. At the moment delivery is blowing out beyond 12 months.

Dr Haines, a board member of St Catherine’s Aged Care Hostel in Wangaratta and former nurse, said almost 23 per cent of Indi’s residents were aged 65 or older – about 8pc higher than the number of Victorians in the same age group.

Older people make up 27.5pc of Strathbogie shire’s population and more than 25pc of the population in Towong and Benalla local government areas.

“People want to stay in their own homes and in the communities where they have family and near the friends they have made over many years,” Dr Haines said.

“Home care support packages funded by the federal government enable people in our Indi communities to do this as they grow older.

“But there’s a serious gap that government needs to close.

“In this year’s federal Budget – put to parliament just before the election was called – this government added only 10,000 home care packages to the number available across the country.

“This leaves more than 120,000 Australians – including many in Indi – still on the waiting list for in-home services long after their applications for home care have been approved.

“This is such a disappointing outcome from a prime minister who staked his early leadership on doing more to deliver effective aged care support to the many people who need and deserve it.”

Dr Haines said improved, secure funding for Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) was also critical.

“At the same time as the long wait lists for home care, it’s also clear that federal under-funding of the government’s Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) Program in rural communities like Corryong, which has a large older population, is seriously affecting the delivery of health and community care,” she said.

“Our older people rely on accessing services such as transport through the MPS and yet funding for it is not guaranteed. That needs to be fixed.”

Dr Haines said distance was another challenge facing older people in Indi, particularly in smaller communities away from major towns.

“We need to close the gap physically between rural and urban Australia so that older people in communities outside Indi’s cities and major towns can receive allied health care,” she said.

“This means adequately funded transport for health professionals to deliver outreach services to distant clients and transport solutions for older people to travel into town to get the care they need.

“I will work to guarantee long term federal funding for these Multi-Purpose Services to make sure this vital healthcare is available and accessible for older people in Indi.”

ENDS

For comment:
Helen Haines M 0436 122 029

For media information:
Jamie Kronborg  0409 912 967

 

INDI POPULATION STATISTICS 2017

 

 

 

 

pop %

pop %

pop %

pop %

Local government

aged 65-74

aged 75-84

aged 85+

aged over 65

 

 

 

 

 

Alpine S

13.7

7.1

2.1

22.9

Benalla RC

14.1

7.9

3.6

25.6

Indigo S

12.8

5.5

2.0

20.3

Mansfield S

15.1

6.6

2.0

23.7

Murrindindi S

14.8

6.2

2.0

23.0

Strathbogie S*

15.8

8.5

3.2

27.5

Towong S

14.8

7.2

3.3

25.3

Wangaratta RC

11.7

6.9

3.4

22.0

Wodonga C

8.5

4.3

1.9

14.7

Average

13.5

6.7

2.6

22.8

Victoria

8.4

4.7

2.1

15.2

Australia

8.7

4.7

2.0

15.4

 

 

 

 

 

* Indi incorporates only part of Strathbogie S

 

Source: ABS