Care in Aged-care & Retirement Needed
In about 2011 I spoke at a public meeting where I called for an enquiry into the delivery of age-care services in Nursing homes, self-care units and retirement villages, while I received a tremendous applause nothing has really happened since, except there seems to be declining care. At this meeting there were as well the state leaders of other political parties addressing the concerns of the community, I was only standing in for the Honorable Reverend Fred Nile MLC who was unable to attend due to other commitments at the very same time. Some of these leaders told the audience that the government had in place the checks and balances between good care and affordable care, some even claimed that there was no significant money in aged-care. I responded with a satirical approach and concluded with the statement that, ” Care in any Age-care, self-care unit or retirement village must exceed the level of care and security that the resident formerly had in their own home and the cost must be reasonably affordable” The government of he day claimed this was the case and while there may be minor issues from time to time all was in hand and there just needed to be expansion of more facilities due to increasing demands in prospect. I was and am still most uncomfortable with such assurances.
I am not alone in my concerns about care in aged-care!
I, as Wheelchair Taxi Driver, have a lot to do with the elderly and I am often told stories that confirm a high level of dissatisfaction in a number of facilities. The complaints range in nature and many of them indicate that the value for the money seems to change after they settled in. There are some places that I receive only good reports from and they need to be praised for all they are doing for the older Australians. We have to prevent vulnerable people being exploited by an industry that has areas that are largely self regulated and potentially able to harm the wellbeing and the financial security of our older Australians. As we all know there are many difficulties that are faced by retirees and some of them are caused by historically consistant poor decisions of government and while others are a result of poor oversight of all of the aged-care and retirement arrangements as they develop from time to time.
Disappointments from successive Governments: In about 1909 wise decisions of the fairly new Commonwealth Government of Australia began discussions to create a single national retirement pension plan. At that time each of the states had their own pension plan that was funded by the income taxes that each state collected and it was believed that a single plan for the whole of the nation was a wise path forward. The plan was to adopt essentially the NSW pension arrangements and a fund was to be created so that a set % of the income tax collected by each state would create an account to pay each Australian over the age of 65 years old (60 for women) 2/3s of the basic wage. Over the years many things happened from the national government’s hands from the income tax collection being transferred to the national government, the demonising of wealthy people getting the pension (though they had actually paid more into the fund than others), the use of money from this fund to prop up other government programs, the introduction of asset and income tests and the relative erosion of the pension by successive governments, to the funding of the pensions via mostly current accounts as the asset base was totally eroded.
Disappointing oversight from successive governments: As there are unclear divisions in the deliver of age-care and and retirement arrangements has caused many gaps to be created and through these gaps fall much of the expected care and financial responsibility that we should expect from responsible government. When we have such divisions blurred responsibility is a natural consequence and as such blame for failures is also able to be avoided and so buck passing has been a pastime of successive States and Commonwealth Governments. As the age-care industry has developed away from the ‘not for profit’ to the very commercial position were are in today there has to be developments to maximise profits for the investors, not that is wrong in itself if strong moral codes guide the investment decisions. The slow collapse of the moral codes in our society has found that profiteering at the expense of the elderly is often underpinning all aspects of aged-care and retirements arrangements within the industry. The purpose of wholesome and clear regulations is to supply a direction for wholesome behaviour in any industry when the moral code from within falls away. The evidence is clear that the voluntary moral code within the industry needs clear unified and precise direction. There is no resolve of any government to fully investigate and to resolve all issues of concern and for many in the industry they choose to deny any issues are outstanding BUT the evidence is overwhelming that there are serious concerns that are not being addressed by the industry or government or its departments.
The company Aveo has faced serious criticism and the response on this link above is dismissive in my view and totally unacceptable as the concerns are real to each and every person. I note that this company’s major shareholders are not Australian citizens and in fact that one it seems has had some brushes with the law in other parts of the world. It seems to me that some foreign investment comes at a cost that it may well be far too expensive for us to have. I am of the strong view that we need to resist foreign investment as too many have a sting in the tail that we can ill afford.
Recovery from such poor circumstances – A way forward: We need an urgent enquiry into all of the aged-care, self-care units and retirement villages industries but while waiting for the enquiry to make its recommendations, I suggest the complex arrangements that seem to be designed to confuse, be overhauled and written in simple language that will secure the residents invested funds and not excessively erode funds via charges and if this is not done voluntary then the conditions will be imposed to protect the funds of the residents.
Only the Christian Democratic Party can deliver a balanced and compassionate outcome, will you support me and my party to deliver just outcomes ASAP??