30 April 2013
Dementia funding too little and too late
The Service and Food Workers Union says today’s announcement of an additional $70 million for aged care services in the 2013 Budget is too little too late.
“The $70 million short changes a sector desperate for a serious injection of funds,” said SFWU age care leader Alastair Duncan.
“The numbers just don’t begin to address the real issue. One the one hand the Minister acknowledges the 4% annual growth in dementia and on the other she proposes a funding increase that just won’t keep pace with the demand for services,” he said.
Alastair Duncan said that residential care alone has a billion dollar budget and, measured against a growing demand, this is a drop in a steadily growing ocean.
“Not only is the amount far too little, it won’t be fully paid out until sometime in 2017, by which time the damage caused by chronic underfunding will have been compounded,” he said.
Alastair Duncan said the Government was out of touch with the aged care sector and has failed to act on the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission report Caring Counts.
“Last year the Human Rights Commission set out an agenda around better pay, greater use of qualifications and increased funding,” he said.
“Employers, care agencies and staff have been desperate for Minister Goodhew to respond to the report, only to be met with a wall of silence. This latest offering is too little and too late and shows she is out of touch with the sector’s needs.”
Alastair Duncan said that, frustrated over the Government’s inaction, the Service and Food Workers Union was currently testing the equal pay laws as they apply in rest homes in court.
“We know our members who are carers are undervalued,” he said. “If this Government is not prepared to value those who deliver care, how can we hope to value the elderly who deserve to receive the very best of care?”