Age-old debate: Minister vs member on aged care budget allocation

Member for Eden-Monaro Dr Mike Kelly vs the Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt on aged care budget allocation. Photos: Alex Ellinghausen
Member for Eden-Monaro Dr Mike Kelly vs the Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt on aged care budget allocation. Photos: Alex Ellinghausen

“You can’t believe a word,” said the Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt.

The Liberal MP’s statement was in response to a letter sent to Yass seniors by the Labor member for Eden-Monaro, Dr Mike Kelly.

In the letter, Dr Kelly said that “not a single extra dollar” had been invested in aged care in the 2018-19 Federal budget, before inviting seniors to a local forum, held last month.

However, Mr Wyatt says an additional investment of $5 billion was made into aged care in the last budget (see, Health 2018-19 Budget at a Glance).

Seniors (aged 65+) represent 16.2 per cent of Eden-Monaro’s population. Dr Kelly is running to retain the seat at the 2019 election.

“You can’t believe a word Labor and MPs like Dr Mike Kelly say on aged care,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Labor has already been caught out twice regarding their funding fibs, with independent experts confirming the Coalition’s continual rises in aged care spending of at least $1 billion a year.”

His comment referred to a report by the RMIT and the ABC into a September allegation by Labor that the Coalition had slashed funding to the sector (see, Fact check: Did the government cut $1.2 billion from aged care funding?).

“Labor can’t deny the facts: under the Coalition government, aged care funding is up, residential care places are up, and home care packages are up – to record levels,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Despite this, Dr Kelly is still trying to pull the wool over local voters’ eyes about aged care funding and reform.”

But Dr Kelly is sticking by his claims.

“Independent analysis has confirmed the government’s brazen hoax: there is no new money in the budget for aged care,” Dr Kelly said.

“The analysis exposes the fact that at the centre of the Liberal government’s aged care plan it is cutting residential care to try and fix the home care crisis. In fact, there is no new money at all in the budget for the funding of home care and residential aged care,” he said.

The report says “the centrepiece of the Australian government’s aged care announcement is 14,000 additional high level home care packages… costing $1.6 billion. But none of this is new money.”

A federal election is due by May 18, 2019

This story Age-old debate: Minister vs member on aged care budget allocation first appeared on Yass Tribune.