Aged Care in Crisis

Ms WELLS (Lilley) (13:48): Australia's aged-care system is in crisis. There is now not one part of our aged-care system that has not been compromised by the mismanagement of this government across seven years. A national crisis like this does not appear out of thin air. It takes years of mismanagement and years of policies focused on cuts rather than compassion for us to get to the dire straits that we are in now, and that system has rotted from the top. The Prime Minister himself was the architect of almost $2 billion worth of cuts to aged care when he was Treasurer, and now under his leadership the neglect and abuse of older Australians in aged care is rife.

I have recently spoken with two nurses from my electorate of Lilley, and between them they have 86 years of experience in aged care—about 84 years more experience than the member for Ryan over there.

One nurse told me it was commonplace for one registered nurse to be responsible for 250 residents. People are getting left in beds, not getting toileted, not getting medication when they need it. And when she raised her concerns, they said, 'That is just the full-time load at the moment.' Another nurse told us residents are forced to pay $45 for a shower—$45 for a shower!—under this government and the way that they manage this sector. The company she works for is cutting even more staff. It is not good enough. Our older Australians built this country; they are overdue some respect and some dignity. They are not what this Treasurer calls them—that is, 'a burden'.