We need action on aged care

2 Aug 2019

Speech by Senator Malarndirri McCarthy – Northern Territory

More than 129,000 older Australians are languishing waiting for care.
In the Northern Territory there are 34 people in the Royal Darwin Hospital alone who should be in aged care.

The lack of home care packages and funded aged care beds is impacting on our public hospital system, with bed shortages and overcrowding.

I certainly want to see the current Minister Richard Colbeck go to the Northern Territory to see for himself how older Territorians die waiting for packages and appropriate care.

I’d certainly like to see him out in our remote communities, the remote regions of the Northern Territory where there is an acute shortage of aged care services, so that he can get a clear understanding of where this Government is failing.

He needs to talk to the Indigenous Elders. They want to live out their lives caring and being cared for on county, passing on songs, their kujika, their map, their song line, and their stories to the younger generation but can’t because there are absolutely no aged care services in some of these communities.

These are our loved ones, people at a fragile stage of life who want to remain in their home under the supported care of the families.

Yet this Government refuses to prioritise the care of our elders, they take their eyes off the ball and even those who do receive packages can end up on the street.

We shouldn’t have to remind this Government that at the end of 2017 the waiting list for home care packages was 104,000.

When the royal commission opened in January this year, it was 128,000 and described as “cruel, unfair, disrespectful and discriminatory” by the Counsel Assisting the Commission.

Six months on the wait list has blown out by more than another 1000 older Australians.

Watch the full speech in the Senate below.
Parliament of Australia

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