CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (14:23): My question is to the Minister for Social Services as representative minister for aged care. Minister, there are seven multipurpose health services in Victoria, with two based in my electorate of Indi—one in Corryong and one in the Alpine Shire. CEOs tell me that funding arrangements have not kept pace with the national funding average provided to public sector residential aged-care services. Will the government tell me what they are doing to ensure a quality of funding in all aged-care places across the aged-care sector, but especially in regional Victoria?
MR SCOTT MORRISON (Cook—Minister for Social Services) (14:24): I thank the member for Indi for her question.
Of the 11 services that provide multipurpose services throughout Victoria, there was an increase in funding of 4.7 per cent—from $12.8 million to $13.4 million. As the member would know, there has been a practice now since the 1990s that these services are funded per bed per day, regardless of whether there is someone actually in that bed or not. That is a different funding model than would otherwise apply to stand-alone residential aged care services. The government has not changed that practice, but there have been issues raised more recently which the government is engaging with.
The Aged Care Financing Authority is going to provide the government with advice on issues affecting the financial performance of rural and remote service providers by later this year. They will be consulting with the sector and with providers, and they will be able to raise their concerns. I would encourage the member to engage with that process.
This funding arrangement has been in place for a long time—it was set, as I said, in the 1990s, and it has run all the way through until this time. But with changes in rural and regional areas and the demographics, and the changes in home-based care, care provided in residential aged care and the changing demands, these things will be looked at. We will consult, we will listen.
Members on both sides of the House will know that that is a similar approach to that which the government took to the recent issue of the Department of Social Services grants. Last week I was pleased to announce some $40 million for dealing with the service gaps—whether it was the Mirabel Foundation, which members opposite have raised; Karralika; or members on this side with Heartfelt House up on the north coast of New South Wales. We will listen, and we will act when we listen to people. And in this case we will be listening to the concerns raised by those in the member for Indi's electorate.