SHADOW Health Minister Mark Butler told Drysdale residents he hopes the upcoming federal budget will prompt a “long overdue” debate about the future of aged care systems.
Speaking at the Senior’s Forum in Drysdale last Thursday, Mr Butler joined Corangamite MP Libby Coker in discussing their hopes for the budget following the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
“I have been working with the aged care sector for almost 30 years and I have never seen it like this,” he said.
“It has gone through its periods of real trouble, but I have never seen anything this bad.
“I would love nothing more than there to be a package for aged care improvement that is bipartisan, but if it is not up to scratch, if it doesn’t do the royal commission report justice, we will reserve the right to chart another path.
“We must do better in aged care, and I think the Prime Minister recognises that.”
Mr Butler discussed the need to improve staffing levels, pay and qualifications as a priority with the 40 Drysdale residents that were in attendance.
“We are struggling now with not having enough workers and we will be in all sorts of trouble if we haven’t fixed this over the next few years,” he said.
“We cannot put any more money into this sector without accountability, that’s ultimately the challenge.”
Ms Coker said she hoped the budget would indicate reform for the sector.
“Aged care is in crisis and we need a comprehensive plan to solve it,” she said.
“The sector needs a commitment to real reform, so residents and workers are valued and treated with respect.”