Last Friday I had the opportunity of hosting the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care and the Minster for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt. Aged care is particularly important in Murray, given that 21.5 per cent of the population is over the age of 65. As Minister Wyatt is very quick to point out, in the nation of Australia 10 million of the country’s population of 25 million are over the age of 55. We are certainly an ageing nation. The minister’s visit was threefold. Firstly, we had to announce the fact that $963,000 of additional funding is finding its way into the Murray electorate, assisting us with Commonwealth Home Support Program placements. Currently we have around 8,000 of these placements, which are allowing aged people in the Murray electorate to stay in their homes””close to their community and close to their loved ones and family. Now we’ve had this injection of nearly an additional million dollars into the area of Commonwealth home support packages throughout the Murray electorate. This is part of $100 million of additional funding that has found its way into the $5.5 billion dollar Home Support Program.
Obviously, this is what local seniors need. It gives them more independence and lets them get the support they need. The support comes in a myriad of ways: with home maintenance, meals, assistance with showering and even cleaning around the house. There are a whole raft of different areas, and our senior Australians are able to get the assistance that they need””they can get the help but also stay at home.
The second stage of the visit was to take Minister Wyatt out to visit the magnificent 120-bed, state-of-the-art Maculata Place, the new retirement village at Tarcoola. We were able to take Minister Wyatt there to officiate at the opening of this new $34 million facility. It really is an amazing place. It has open areas. It’s got indoor/outdoor living. It has a whole raft of courtyards, and every room looks outside to the wonderful birds and the river that is nearby. There are action-packed opportunities for all the residents there to really enjoy the community. This new facility is complete with a gymnasium, a doctor’s clinic, a hairdressing salon and a cafe, really making everyday life at Maculata Place more like a normal day in a community rather than a normal day in an aged care facility. There are state-of-the-art televisions that are able to connect with families: the family can be on an outing somewhere and in real time can send photos through that will appear on the TVs in the rooms of the residents. I’d like to congratulation Kerri Rivett for inviting Minister Wyatt to be part of this opening. It really was an amazing ceremony.
The third aspect of the visit was to put Minister Wyatt in a room full of around 45 aged-care administrators from about 35 different aged-care facilities throughout the Murray electorate. Again, Minister Wyatt showed why he’s doing such an amazing job and why the government is able to put the support that’s needed in place. Again, because this government is running a strong economy, we’re able to invest in aged care. Yes, we need to find more money to invest in aged care, because we’re right at the very start of what’s going to be a tidal wave of needs in aged care. Both in keeping people at home and for people who need to go into facilities, it’s going to cost this country more and more. Luckily, the government, at this stage, are able to provide the aged-care assistance that is needed.
With these 40-odd administrators asking Minister Wyatt about the finances, about the regulation, about some of the reviews that have been taken on, he’s shown he’s a very impressive minister, able to converse with those who are working so hard to make sure the aged-care sector in Murray is operating as well as it possibly can. I congratulate the minister.