Question Without Notice, March 25, to Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews
My question is to the Minister for Social Services and it concerns support for aged-care residents in rural communities.
From 1 July 2014, a higher accommodation supplement will be paid for supported accommodation, provided that the service is newly built, has met the criteria for refurbishment and has a supported residents ratio of 40 per cent.
Minister, can you please tell the House what arrangements are in place where population density prevents providers such as Glenview Community Service in Rutherglen from meeting the 40 per cent ratio?
Mr Kevin Andrews, Member for Menzies, Minister for Social Services
I thank the member for Indi for her question. I am a frequent visitor to the seat of Indi. I was there, in Mansfield, over the weekend.
Having grown up in rural Victoria and having family in rural Victoria, I share her concerns about the plight of the
residents, and particularly the aged residents, of rural parts of Australia.
To come to her question: it is true that the government pays an accommodation supplement to assist low wealth
residents who cannot meet the normal costs of aged care. In order to encourage aged-care providers to take more low-wealth residents into their homes, it pays that supplement where, as the member for Indi pointed out, 40 per cent of the residents are of low wealth, as defined by the legislation and the regulations.
In those situations which the member for Indi alludes to where less than 40 per cent of the residents of a particular aged-care home are deemed to be low-wealth individuals, rather than 100 per cent of the aged-care supplement being paid, 75 per cent of the aged-care supplement is paid.
As I understand from the latest data, that 75 per cent amounts to about $25 per person per day. So, in addition to
the other payments which are received by the aged care provider, where less than 40 per cent of the residents are deemed to be low-wealth individuals, then a payment of approximately $25 per person per day is paid.
Now, it is true that there are some further changes coming in from 1 July which reflect upgrading of particular residential accommodation in various parts of Australia. Can I simply add, to what I have explained of the way in which the system works, that the government has asked the Australian Aged Care Financial Authority to advise it on the support of low-wealth individuals—not only in rural areas of Australia but, indeed, right across Australia—in terms of their accommodation in aged care.
Finally, we are also examining the needs of rural aged-care services in relation to the election commitment we made to re-purpose the aged-care workforce supplement. The government has that matter under consideration at the present time. But I can advise the member for Indi, and, indeed, all other representatives of rural and regional parts of Australia, that that is under active consideration at the present time.
Finally, as the member for Indi raised matters concerning her electorate, I am not sure if she knows, but the Deputy Prime Minister recently approved a community development grant for the Bright Hospital to look at the feasibility of the redevelopment of that hospital. (Time expired)