Local Media


September 02, 2020

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has slammed the Morrison Government for its tragic failure to prepare Australia’s aged care system for COVID-19 outbreaks.

There have been terrible stories of neglect with people with open sores left unattended, a woman with ants crawling from her open wounds, and aged care residents left hungry and alone in their rooms.

Alarming evidence emerged last week that new infections of COVID-19 in Victoria are being driven by staff and residents in aged care.

The Minister for Aged Care, Richard Colbeck, has admitted key failings, including that the Government’s regulator ceased unannounced visits to aged care homes at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Neumann, a former Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, has said the Morrison Government can’t be trusted when it comes to Aged Care.

“The Morrison Government is completely in the dark about the serious risks of COVID-19 in aged care,” he said.

“It’s clear the Morrison Government never had a proper plan to deal with COVID-19.

“Despite this, Scott Morrison continues to stand by his failed Minister for Aged Care who had been ‘sidelined’ in his portfolio and isn’t even trusted to answer questions.

“The Minister for Aged Care is not across basic details and walks away from scrutiny.

“The Morrison Government has been behind the eight ball on aged care for years and we are now seeing the tragic impact of this with COVID-19.

“All we see from the Government is running away, passing the buck, and refusing interviews.

“The Morrison Government has no plan to fix the aged care system, but Labor does. They need to take these eight steps.

  1. Minimum staffing levels in residential aged care
  2. Reduce the home care package waiting list so more people can stay in their homes for longer
  3. Ensure transparency and accountability of funding to support high quality care
  4. Independent measurement and public reporting as recommended by the Royal Commission this week
  5. Ensure every residential aged care facility has adequate personal protective equipment
  6. Better training for staff, including on infection control
  7. A better surge workforce strategy
  8. Provide additional resources so the Aged Care Royal Commission can inquire specifically into COVID-19 across the sector while not impacting or delaying the handing down of the final report.

“The problems in aged care were around long before the coronavirus. The pandemic has been like an x-ray. It’s shown us what was broken.

“Labor has launched an online petition calling on the Government to fix our aged care system and I encourage Blair residents to sign this and send Scott Morrison a strong message. The petition can be found here.

“Older Australians built this country – and they deserve so much better than this,” Mr Neumann said.