SENATOR THE HONOURABLE CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS

Transcript

AM Agenda Sky News: Annelise Nielsen
05 August 2020

SUBJECTS: Aged Care, Royal Commission, Shadow Minister for Ageing

 

E&OE …

Annelise Nielsen:  

 Preamble    

Now returning to the discussion of Aged Care which has proven to be extremely complex during the Corona Virus Crisis including the outbreaks in Victoria.

Joining us live now is Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Senator thank you for your time. Your submission into the Royal Commission into Aged Care was really scaving about both the Labor and your own Governments approach to Aged Care.

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:  

Well Annelise aged care and the failure to reform in aged care has been an issue that’s been around for a long, long time. And indeed the Interim Report of the Royal Commmission itself is very critical of successive governments that have failed to undertake effective reform and proper reform in aged care. And indeed the Interim Report refers to what it says is the melancholy conclusion that older Australians and those receiving care have not been a high priority for successive governments.

Now we’ve had review upon review and some of those reviews have continued to outline the systemic failures in the Aged Care system – and one very important study that was undertaken was the Productivity Commission Report on Caring for Older Australians, and that report was released in 2011 – and that very much formed, informed the work that I had done at the time as Shadow Minister for Ageing and very much was the basis upon which the 2013 Coalition Policy Report, or policy, was prepared.

So this has really been the issue and now we have a Royal Commossion that has basically now said effectively enough is enough. We will promise – and it has promised the Australian public – that it will outline fundamental reform and a total change in the Aged Care System, and that needs to happen Annelise. Because regrettably, we’ve seen the same things happening over many years and so now we are at the point were what we’re seeing in Victoria is symptomatic of a system with systematic failures over many, many years.

Annelise Nielsen:  

When you speak of the Productivity Commission Report in 2011 you highlight in your submission that none of the suggested reforms were undertaken. What would those reforms have been if they were implemented?

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells: 

Well Annelise the report basically looked at suggestions for an Aged Care system. Bearing in mind the fact that we are coming into a Baby Boomer generation and also taking into account the dependency ratios of working people for aged care people. So for example today there are about 4 people of working age to every person aged over 65 and by 2058 that’s going to be just over 3.

So the Productivity Commission not only looked at the systemic failures but it also looked at the funding issue – and yes of course we do have to spend more on aged care because we have an ageing population – but it is important to get that balance between the public funding and the private funding. And in the end the Productivity Commission concluded that we should have a pay as you go system with higher contributions, a tax funded system but with higher co-contributions and certain limits are put in place, and of course considerations for people who need a safety net.

So it outlined the processes of reform. What I did was actually take that report – and then look at what could actually be – and road tested ideas as to how that report could be implemented into fundamental reform. Which is still…

Annelise Nielsen:

…One of the biggest frustrations…

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

…Important today Annelise. Which of course is still important today and indeed, and indeed the Interim Report of the Royal Commission is actually informing itself on the work that was done by the Productivity Commission.

Annelise Nielsen:  

Yes but we are talking about a report in 2018, one of the biggest frustrations, sorry 2011. One of the frustrations for ordinary Australians is that they want someone to take responsibility and they have the State and the Federal Governments pointing fingers at eachother. In this report you are pretty scaving at the Abbott Government, your saying  “it’s evident that the Abbott Government, through relavent Ministers and those advising it,  failed to articulate the original intent of the Coalition Aged Care election policy.” Is this just more finger pointing?

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:  

Annelise, the problems that we had in 2011 and in 2013 have continued on. So therefore, as the Interim Report of the Royal Commission has stated, successive governments are at fault here so we know that there are problems. So therefore, how are we going to fix the mistakes of the past and so therefore what I am doing at this point in time is providing – at a particular critical point of time, in a public process, which is important a public discourse – providing solutions to the problems as I see them.

I mean the problems are still the same. They haven’t changed. They have just compounded over the years and so unless you’re going to be prepared to undertake wholesale reform then you will still have the problems that we are seeing.

Annelise Nielsen:  

We are going to have to leave it there, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells thank you for your time.

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:  

Thanks very much Annelise.

 

[ends]