New data has revealed the Hunter-Newcastle region is in the top five regions nationally for the number of older Australians left waiting for aged care packages that have already been approved.
The data, provided in response to questions in Senate Estimates, showed that 3,400 people are awaiting home care packages in the Newcastle-Hunter region – second only to the South East Sydney region in New South Wales.
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said home care packages are a critical part of supporting older Australians with complex care needs to live independently in their own homes.
“Home care packages give older Australians support with daily tasks and provide caring services at home. They are often the difference between living an independent life at home and moving into a residential aged care facility,” Ms Claydon said.
“It’s natural that people want to stay in their own homes as long as possible, especially in the face of COVID-19. But without the right support, this can’t happen.”
Ms Claydon said the news compounds the damage inflicted when the Morrison Government excluded aged care organisations in the Newcastle Hunter region from applying for growth funding under the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
“This news just adds insult to injury after the Newcastle-Hunter region was one of four regions in New South Wales that were deemed ineligible for growth funding under the Commonwealth Home Support Program, which also offers services to older Australians living in their own homes.
“When I wrote to the Minister on this matter, he had no answer to my questions as to why our region was abandoned, instead warning that ineligible organisations have no right to appeal because departmental decisions ‘are final’.”
Ms Claydon called on the Morrison Government to rectify the situation.
“The Newcastle-Hunter region has a higher median age than the national average but this isn’t reflected in the aged care investment we’re receiving. This isn’t good enough.
“It’s time for the Morrison Government to deliver the investment in aged care that older people in the Newcastle-Hunter region need and deserve.”