Aged care promises fall short
CAMPAIGNERS are calling for more aged care facilities in the Bundaberg region, after the federal government fell short on its 200-bed promise last year.
Mary Walsh, an aged and disabled care activist in Bundaberg for 40 years, said she nursed her frail mother at home for 10 years while she waited for a bed in an aged care facility to become vacant.
“When we got her in, the staff took wonderful care of my mother, but it took a long time to get her a bed,” she said.
Mrs Walsh said her mother was 96 before she finally got a place, and died last month at the age of 100.
“By the time we got her into an aged care facility I was an emotional wreck,” she said.
“You can see how serious the lack of aged care beds is because as soon as there’s a vacancy they get snapped up immediately.”
Mrs Walsh said more aged care facilities had been approved for the region, but the developers were in limbo while they waited for government funding to be put in place.
“These are businesspeople who have to be commercially compensated if they are going to go into the industry,” she said.
“The not-for-profit organisations try to pick up the slack but there are lots of calls for their scarce dollars.”
According to Member for Hinkler Paul Neville, there is little hope on the horizon.
Mr Neville said last year the federal government promised 200 beds for the area covering Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and hinterland areas stretching from Monto down to Kingaroy.
This year the government had set aside only 140 aged care beds for the area.
“Based on receiving only 120 of last year’s promised 200 beds, it is hard to be optimistic about the full 140 beds being delivered next time around,” he said.
“The government has again failed to look after the elderly living in regional areas.”
A spokeswoman for Minister for the Ageing Justine Elliot said the Rudd government was providing more services to more older Australians than ever before.
She said there were more than 2100 aged care places operating in the Wide Bay region.
“The allocation in the aged care approvals round is based on the most recent population data,” she said.
“The Rudd government is committed to providing the type of aged care services Queenslanders need when they need them.”