The electorate of Canberra is the largest by population in Australia, with a very large number of older Australians – older people who look to government to help them make sure that as they live longer, they also live better.
There are 1,143 residents currently living in residential aged care facilities in the Southside of Canberra. I have visited many aged care homes and spent a lot of time talking with residents, staff and families. I’ve also hosted a well-attended aged care forum with Minister Mark Butler and taken the Minister to meet with aged care providers and residents. I’ll be hosting more aged care forums this year. Canberra is fortunate to have so many quality aged care providers and services; however we all recognise that the system needs to be improved to meet changing demands. The current aged care system needs to be reformed to meet the needs of an ageing Australia. In a generation’s time, the proportion of people aged 65 and over is expected to increase from about three million to over eight million, and we must make changes to meet the expected demand When it comes to aged care, the preference is for people to stay in their family home for as long as possible. What we all want is to be able to age with dignity in our own home. But when this is not possible, we all want to be assured that there are aged care services offering certainty and stability. Older people deserve dignity, respect and certainty. Families are rightly concerned about the quality and cost of care that is being provided in the aged care sector. This week there have been big changes made to aged care that I believe will benefit both the providers of aged care services and those who need them. The changes will increase and improve the supply of aged care services so that the sector can better address changes in demand. In a growing electorate like Canberra – which also serves as a regional hub and provides care to many people living in the neighbouring regions – the reforms to aged care will be welcomed.
Canberra Chronicle, March 2013