CPSA has set out its 2019 federal budget priorities in the areas of aged care, social service and health. These themes have been covered many times in THE VOICE so here is a bite-size version of CPSA’s submission.
CPSA urges the Government to present an aged care supply plan, identifying targets and committing the funding to achieve those targets to solve the massive shortfall in aged care places.
There are still 127,000 people waiting for entry to the Home Care Package (HCP) program or for a package at the level at which they have been assessed. 90,000 of those waiting on an HCP also have approval to go into residential aged care, which would be overwhelmed if those so assessed wanted to exercise those approvals. There is clearly a shortage of all types of aged care.
The desperately low rate of Newstart was also a key topic in the submission. People receiving Newstart live below the poverty line. This is increasingly becoming an ageing issue as the largest age cohort of Newstart recipients are aged over 55. These numbers are only set to increase as over 55 population increases and as the Age Pension eligibility age rises to 67 in 2023, meaning a longer wait on Newstart until they reach pension age. CPSA recommends that the Newstart Allowance should be raised to a level where the long-term unemployed no longer live below the poverty line.
CPSA also highlights the need for the Australian Government to invest more into social housing construction. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute has reported that Australia needs to triple its social housing stock over the next 20 years to cover both the existing backlog and newly emerging need. CPSA recommends that the Australian Government appoint a Minister for Housing and fund an adequate social housing construction plan to be executed by the states and territories.
CPSA is continuing to campaign for better public oral health care. The majority of the health related calls CPSA receives from members and constituents concern access to affordable dental care.
In NSW alone, over 74,000 adults are awaiting treatment on the public dental list and over 19,000 are waiting to be assessed.
Delayed treatment is not only detrimental to the individuals who suffer immense pain and diminished quality of life, but there are also has flow-on cost effects for the healthcare system.