THE Council on the Ageing (COTA) has welcomed Labor’s commitments to cancer treatment and aged care training but has expressed disappointment that some areas have continued to miss out.
COTA chief executive officer Ian Yates said some of the measures were much-needed but there were “the same gaping holes in Labor’s budget reply as there were in the government’s budget”.
He listed four: no new home care packages for 125,000 older Australians, who may wait for up to 22 months for high level packages, many suffering from dementia; no increase in Newstart for over 350,000 mature aged unemployed; no oral and dental health program for older people; and no proactive Retirement Incomes Review.
“These are all matters we have put to government and the opposition repeatedly over the last year and we are deeply disappointed that these key issues for older Australians appear not to be a priority for the opposition, in the same way as they have fallen off the government’s agenda,” Mr Yates said.
“While we applaud Labor for recognising the need for more aged care training places in TAFE, it has not committed to providing relief for more than 125,000 people waiting for home care packages, despite the Opposition’s constant criticisms of the government on this issue.”
The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) welcomed Labor’s plan to expand offsets to lowincome workers but criticised Labor’s negative gearing policy.
ATA director of policy Satya Marar said taxpayers also wanted to guarantee that extra funding for education and healthcare would go towards fixing key structural issues.
“Australian STEM graduates are struggling to find work despite skills shortages in these fields, and there are worse academic outcomes among Australian school students in maths and science despite far greater per-student funding for schools countries like Singapore and Kazakhstan who are beating us.
“Labor must also be clear about who will end up paying for their climate policy, with emissions reduction mandates and subsidies ultimately paid for by consumers and taxpayers through higher costs that disproportionately hurt poor and middleclass Australians and our families.”