Aged care fee increase under fire

A leaked budget document shows the Government plans to lift the maximum fee nursing homes can charge from 14 to 16.25 dollars per day.

Labor’s Stephen Smith is calling for the release of the Government’s Hogan report into the struggling industry.

‘It’s only with an election months away do we see the Government finally act, so there’s no long-term commitment here to the quality of residential aged care. It’s simply another classic John Howard political fix in the run-up to an election. And I make this point, given that we’ve spent seven millions dollars of tax payers money on the Hogan Report it would be nice to look at that and have the benefit of that advice and I certainly hope that the Government publishes the Hogan Report together with the budget. ‘

Mr Smith says the fee increase will be an extra burden on families.

But David Deans, from the Council on the Ageing, which represents senior Australians, says the rise is necessary.

‘We’ll be watching that carefully. However, I think we’re realistic enough to say there was a need for an increase. So long as those people that aren’t able to pay for it aren’t disadvantaged, and of course they’re not. That amount of money will be paid for through the government program.

Rod Young from the Australian Nursing Homes and Extended Care Association says the increase is not enough to solve the industry’s funding crisis.

‘It’s a drop in the ocean basically. Though the additional funds are certainly welcome, the amount that we have indicated it needs to change by should be in order of $13.91 to closer to $30, and to increase by basically $2 a day seems to be failing to recognise the needs of the sector by way of additional capital to support us to build and replace existing facilities.’

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