PM Wont Apologise for Ambitious Aged Care Plan

PM Wont Apologise for Ambitious Aged Care Plan
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on July 28, 2022. (Martin Ollman/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the government makes “no apology” for its ambitious 24/7 nursing requirement for aged care facilities, despite warnings that struggling providers will shut down if they can’t fill rosters.

Wesley Mission announced it would close all its Sydney aged care homes due to being unable to meet workforce requirements by the government’s July 1 deadline.

Albanese denied Aged Care Minister Anika Wells’ assurance that the government would not be “kicking down the doors” of facilities on deadline day was an admission the staffing requirements were introduced too soon.

“Not at all—the fact that 90 percent have met the requirements already shows that,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.

“We make no apologies for being ambitious in this area, but we’re also being very practical about the way that these issues are dealt with.

“We’re dealing with elderly Australians who deserve the best care, and the way to deliver the best care, one of the elements of our plan for aged care, was ensuring that nurses are available 24/7.”

Albanese said about five percent of the industry’s facilities had been granted exemptions as they had “valid reasons” for not meeting the targets. Providers would not be shut down by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, he said.

The prime minister said the government was closely monitoring the system together with the commission but was confident the sector was heading in the right direction, and the reforms were the right ones.

Deputy Liberal Leader Sussan Ley said Albanese’s excuses weren’t good enough.

“He needs to take responsibility on this. His argument that the closure of aged care centres is validation of his ambition for aged care is unacceptable,” she said.

“As hundreds of residents are now learning, ambition doesn’t provide aged care.”

Ley said the changes were rushed and were implemented against the royal commission’s timeline as a result of politics.

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