25 March 2022

Haines announces plan to revamp home-based aged care amid wait list blow out

Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines has announced a plan to reduce the amount of time older Australians wait to receive their home care packages, setting a maximum legal waiting time of one month.

Department of Health data shows 560 people in North East Victoria are on the waiting list for home care packages after being approved. The number of older people in North-East Victoria who have been approved for a home care package but are still on the waiting list to receive their package at the approved level jumped by 35 per cent in the last quarter of 2021.

Home care packages allow older Australians to receive assistance and care to allow them to remain in their own homes for longer, instead of needing to move to residential aged care facilities.

“Older Australians are spending years waiting to receive the care they are entitled to – the care they need in order to stay in their own homes for longer,” Dr Haines said.

“I have heard from constituents and their families who are forced to wait a year, even sometimes two years, to receive a home care package. It’s cruel and appalling to deny vulnerable older Australians the care they need.

“The fact there are still 68,000 older Australians waiting for a home care package is a national disgrace. The Government insists it is already meeting this goal by adding more places. It is not. Half measures are unacceptable.”

The Aged Care Royal Commission, which issued its final report in March last year, called for the Government to clear the home care waitlist backlog by the end of 2021 and to institute a maximum one-month waiting time after that. Since then, the waitlist has grown, increasing in North East Victoria from 439 to 560 people.

“Here in the North East, the queue is getting longer, not shorter. That needs to change.

“The Government has shown it is not serious about delivering reforms for older Australians. That’s why Indi needs an Independent voice in Parliament, to call out the Government when it fails our community, and to put forward the sensible and much-needed legislation that they will not.”

“In my first term of Parliament, I have tabled eight pieces of legislation – on renewable energy, integrity in politics, regional development. But there is still so much more to do, including cleaning up the Government’s mess on aged care. That starts with home care waitlists.”

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