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‘Verging on abuse’: aged care minister slams claims the sector is in crisis

Aged care, senior citizen, old man

Bill Shorten’s characterisation of the aged care industry as a “national crisis”, has been denounced by the aged care minister who argues the comments constitute scare-mongering and verge on abuse.

Speaking in a fiery question time on Tuesday, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt disputed the Opposition Leader's comments that aged care is in “a state of national crisis”.

Bill Shorten made the comments in Townsville last month following revelations of systematic abuse at the Oakden facility in South Australia. 

“That's extreme language, but this situation in aged care calls for extreme,” Mr Shorten said, arguing the government has been “asleep at the wheel” for the last five years.

“You judge a nation by the way it treats its older people. The older people of Australia have paid their taxes, they've raised a generation of adults, now it's their turn to get support from the government in Canberra.

“If you talk to people in aged care facilities, they're worried about the cost of the bonds, their families are worried about the cost of the bonds. If you talk to people in aged care facilities and their families, they're worried about whether or not there's sufficient nurses in these facilities and access to GPs.”

However, Mr Wyatt has responded this week by accusing Mr Shorten of “fear-mongering” to an extent that borders abuse.

He said, “I’m slow to anger but I must admit that recently the Opposition Leader commenting that the system is in crisis and a national disgrace was not becoming of what I would expect in a bilateral and bipartisan approach to aged care.

“This demeans every one of those dedicated aged care workers and it achieves nothing but instilling fear into the hearts and minds of older Australians, just like Labor did in the lead-up to the last election when they were peddling ‘Medi-scare’ lies designed to scare the most deserving.

“For the Opposition Leader to continue this fear-mongering is verging on the abuse of elder Australians and it must stop.”

Continuing, Mr Wyatt argued that the Turnbull government had older Australians’ best interests at heart, as opposed to the Labor Party, given their proposal to remove the cash refund arrangement on excess dividend imputation credits.  

‘Verging on abuse’: aged care minister slams claims the sector is in crisis
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