Australia’s aged care sector is in crisis, with three more homes forced to close as a direct result of the Albanese Labor Government’s rushed and ill-considered aged care policy.
Anthony Albanese took to the election a key promise to require every aged care home in Australia to have a registered nurse on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by July this year. In doing so, they blatantly ignored the recommendations of the Royal Commission, the advice of the sector, and the serious workforce challenges on the ground.
Now we are seeing older Australians tragically forced to relocate from their homes because Labor’s policy refused to consider the workforce challenges currently faced by aged care providers.
For more than 6 months, the Coalition has warned that this would be the consequence of the Government’s decision to expedite staffing requirement by an entire year and impose rigid constrains on the sector.
The Aged Minister Anika Wells has even admitted that Labor cannot meet their headline 24/7 nurses election commitment within the promised timeframe, because the workforce just isn’t there.
The Coalition said this would happen, the sector said this would happen, and in acknowledging that the commitment won’t be met on time, the Minister should have known this would happen – so why didn’t she act?
The Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston said, “Anthony Albanese promised to put the care back into aged care. Instead, he has broken his headline election promise to older Australians and aged care homes are now closing under his watch.
“Anthony Albanese must urgently step in and provide more support and more flexibility for aged care providers. The worst possible outcome is for older Australians to be kicked out of their homes because of government regulation.
“We do not want to see any aged care homes close, but in the absence of urgent action from the Government, homes are already closing and this remains a serious ongoing concern.
“The Prime Minister cannot continue to leave this really critical issue in the hands of an Aged Care Minister who is clearly not listening to the sector and continues to ignore the situation on the ground,” Senator Ruston said.
The Coalition has always been clear that we support older Australians receiving the best care possible, but bringing forward the Royal Commission’s recommended timelines and imposing rigid constraints on the aged care sector is reckless and damaging.