Peak Body Takes Action on Dementia Supplement Cut
Tuesday, 1st July 2014 at 8:01 am
A peak body for aged services, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA,) has called on its members to speak up over the Federal Government’s axing of the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement.
The supplement, which LASA describes as “critical funding” for aged-care organisations caring for those living with dementia, will end on July 31.
According to Assistant Social Services Minister Senator Mitch Fifield, the Supplement had gone well beyond the budget allocated to it.
“The previous government estimated that 2,000 people in residential care would be eligible for the Supplement. As at March 2014, 25,451 people were receiving the Supplement,” he said.
“This represents a 12-fold blow out in the eligibility estimates of the previous government.
“The Supplement was budgeted at $11.7 million for this financial year. Instead, it is anticipated the cost in 2013-14 will be around $110 million.”
LASA has asked its members to write to LASA Victoria to detail how their organisations will be affected by the funding cut and how they plan to deal with it and also to contact their local Federal and State Member to raise the issues.
LASA will also be holding a Special Member Meeting for CEOs later this week.
“The Minister cites the reason for ceasing the supplement as a budget blow-out that has been known since August 2013; this action represents the Government turning its back on Australia’s most vulnerable people, their families and the industry that provides specialist quality care 24 hours a day,” LASA CEO Patrick Reid said.
“What now for aged care providers who have followed a government mandated process, made appropriate assessments and staffed or modified their facilities accordingly in the belief that funding was adequately provisioned by the Department?”
Senator Fifield also said he made the decision after consulting with the Aged Care Sector Committee and experts. However Patrick Reid said this was not the case.
“As a member of that Committee, LASA were briefed on the situation and undertook to provide further advice to the Department – at no stage was the committee consulted on the cessation of the funding,” Reid said.
“Given this vital funding supplement has been ripped out of the sector in the complete absence of industry advice or discussion, LASA now asks; how can the community and providers have any certainty around Government decisions on critical issues for older Australians?”
LASA said it was in touch with the Minister's office and Government Departments on both a State and Federal level, and would continue to keep the pressure high.
LASA Victoria members can send their information to firstname.lastname@example.org