Budget right of reply must address: Newstart, Aged Care, Public Dental, Affordable Housing

Article published 4 April 2019

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“There are encouraging reports about the federal opposition committing to increased health funding, but simply increasing funding for Medicare is not enough”, said Paul Versteege, Policy Manager for the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association.

“Newstart needs to go up and Bill Shorten needs to commit to it. There are 185,000 people over 55 trying to survive on Newstart. Most will never work again and will be living in poverty until pension age, when a slightly better kind of poverty kicks in.

“Funding for new places must largely cease with the money being diverted to the Home Care Packages program. No more pandering to the nursing home industry by continuing pouring nursing home places into the system rather than making sure the demand for Home Care Packages is satisfied. Of the 128,000 people waiting for a Home Care Package, 90,000 also have approval to go into a nursing home, but none are moving into the 20,000 nursing home places that are currently spare. Bill Shorten needs to commit to solving the home care crisis.

“The lack of a universal oral and dental health scheme is an international embarrassment. Bill Shorten must commit to including dental in Medicare. Doing so would be beneficial in health, wellbeing and dollar terms for Australia.

“Homelessness is growing alarmingly and the evidence in the shape of rough sleepers in our big cities is there for anyone to see. The demolition of Australia’s 1950s social housing programs is shaping up as an enduring national shame. Bill Shorten must commit to building social housing.”

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