Kevin Rudd’s decision to stand down comes just a day after aged care industry leaders penned an open letter to the prime minister, urging him to address the sector’s funding crisis.
Published in national and major metropolitan papers, the Aged Care Industry Council’s (ACIC) letter delivered a stern ultimatum that proved too much for the embattled leader.
A government spokesman was quoted as saying “I think it will teach everyone in Canberra that you just can’t ignore aged care anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Minister for Ageing is elevated to a cabinet position after today’s events. This is serious stuff.”
Here’s the letter in full, explaining the issue. Basically asking the government “to bridge the gap in funding immediately by restoring the 1.75 per cent supplement for residential care and extending it to community care”.
Dear Prime Minister
Older Australians, the people who made this country great, are being let down by your government’s failure to address the funding crisis in aged and community care.
As the numbers of older people have increased over the past decade, funding to meet the real costs of providing services and accommodation has fallen.
This year the increase in subsidies for aged care was only 1.7 per cent when the cost of living indicators have risen by 2.9 per cent, utilities in some states have gone up by as much as 10 per cent and the minimum wage has been lifted by 4.8 per cent.
No one can make these numbers work, and older people are the losers.
On behalf of older Australians we welcome the Productivity Commission inquiry into aged care and look forward to working with Government on major reforms, but significant change takes time and older people don’t have that luxury.
Prime Minister you must act to bridge the gap in funding immediately by restoring the 1.75 per cent supplement for residential care and extending it to community care effective from July 1. This will ensure older people have the care they need now and stave off the cut backs in services which will otherwise be inevitable.
Right now, today, older people need your help to provide the “targeted, affordable and high quality care” you have stated Australia’s aged care system already provides.