Aged care organisations face ongoing allocation delays

The Australian Greens have voiced deep concern at the Federal Government's delay in announcing the 2010 allocation of aged care bed licences and community care packages.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens Health and Ageing spokesperson says the announcement was due at the end of October and is now a month overdue.

"These announcements are essential for care organisations to budget, plan developments and employ staff," Senator Siewert said today.

"This unexpected and unaccounted for delay means that many services and staff are now in limbo - they don't dare allocate funds to upgrade facilities or take on new staff.

"In some cases the delay can even mean elderly people being unable to access care and support.

"For older people facing struggling to stay independent and mobile, the lack of access to community care packages can lead to deterioration in their health, and even a premature or unnecessary admission to hospital or residential care.

"Residential care providers need confirmation of the bed licenses they have applied for so they can plan and budget to address the growing demand for services.

"The Government appears intent on waiting for the delivery of the Productivity Commission's report before taking any meaningful steps to improve the position of our aged care services- but many organisations can not afford to wait any longer.

"Earlier this month the Senate supported a Greens motion recognising the funding crisis facing our aged care sector and urged the Government to restore the 2 per cent conditional adjustment payment as an interim measure.

"The restoration of the conditional adjustment payment is a necessary first step to keep aged care services afloat and must be followed by systemic reform.

"The Productivity Commission report will be important to this systemic reform, but this does not override the Government's immediate obligation to support the sector.

 "These delays dramatically impact an organisation's ability to remain viable, retain staff and deliver quality care to as many people as possible," Senator Siewert concluded.