The aged care system is under pressure. With a growing population of older people, this is set to get worse over the next ten years unless we work harder to address these problems in the next term of government.
To create an aged care system that’s fit for the future, we need to kick start a slowed reform agenda.
- Create a single, simplified home care program
- Establish a single national assessment system to streamline access to services
- Reform aged care funding to accurately reflect the cost of providing quality care
- Provide funding to implement the national aged care workforce strategy.
The longer-term sustainability of aged care needs a radical rethink. To meet the projected increase in demand over the coming years, increased investment will be needed by governments, consumers and aged care providers. We need to start the planning process now to ensure that in the future, we have quality aged care services that meet both demand and community expectations.
The Aged Care Royal Commission is currently underway, and due to report by 30 April 2020. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create an aged care system that’s fit for purpose for the next generations of older Australians. That’s a great opportunity but makes it more difficult to ask for firm commitments from potential governments about their plans before the Royal Commission’s recommendations are known.
We particularly want to see commitments to providing sustainable, secure funding to meet the growing needs of older Australians, regardless of the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
Do one thing…
Every action, no matter how small, helps to create a better for Australia. As you talk about the nation you want to live in, you help to create change.
Writing to your local federal member, a minister, shadow minister or even the local newspaper is an old campaign technique that still wields clout in the 21st Century. When an election is on the cards, these tried and true methods take on an importance they don’t normally enjoy.
- Find your correspondent and their contact information:
- Local member
- Federal Minister
- Minister responsible for housing
- Minsiter responsible for social security
- Minister responsible for domestic violence
- Minister responsible for aged care
- Shadow Minister
- Shadow Minister responsible for housing
- Shadow Minister responsible for social security
- Shadow Minister responsible for domestic violence
- Shadow Minister responsible for aged care
- Local newspaper
- Write and send your letter or email setting out how you’d like our housing system to change. You could include details about your personal experience of the issue, things you’ve seen in your community relating to the issue, and how you’d like your community to be different (you might like to read the advice from Parliament House about contacting members and senators).
- Tell us you’ve taken action!
It’s easy to call your local member’s office and ask for a meeting. (You might like to read the advice from Parliament House about contacting members and senators.) When there’s an election on the cards, local members are in their communities talking and listening to voters to understand what they care about. If you’re actively involved in helping to respond to the issue in your community, your voice is especially powerful, so don’t be afraid to share your experiences and ask for action!
- Find your local federal member by searching your postcode.
- Call or email your federal member’s electorate office in your local community and ask for a meeting. Include your home address so the office knows you’re a constituent, and also mention the specific topic or issues you’d like to discuss in the meeting.
- If you don’t receive a response, follow up a week after the initial call or email. Electorate offices are busy places and sometimes things do fall through the cracks.
- When you attend the meeting, dress and act respectfully, but there’s no need to be formal. Local members are used to interacting with members of the public and will generally accept you for who you are. They might not agree with you, but they will accept your right to raise it with them.
- During the meeting, thank your member for taking the time to meet with you, and give a verbal summary of what you’d like to see changed in our aged care system. You might like to print a copy of the summary document to take to the meeting to leave with your member for reference.
- After the meeting send an email thanking your member for his or her time, and following up any topics or questions raised in the meeting.
- Tell us you’ve taken action!
An election forum is a great way for your church or community group to hear from all your local candidates about the issues you think are important in the election. You might choose one or several of the topics in our federal election platform to raise with the candidates standing in your electorate.
- Organising an event is often easier if you have a small group to help. So a good start is to ask a few friends whether they’d like to help.
- Decide on a date, time and venue for your forum that will suit both the candidates and the members of your audience. It’s helpful to check what else is happening in your electorate to avoid clashes with other important events that your candidates or audience members
- Choose what topics you’d like candidates to speak about at the forum. A simple but effective approach is to frame questions on your topics for each candidate to answer at the forum.
- Invite all the candidates standing in your electorate to attend the forum to discuss the topics you’re interested in:
- Local member
- Other candidates – Liberal, ALP, Nationals MPs, Nationals candidates, Greens, One Nation, Katter’s Australia Party, Centre Alliance, Australian Conservatives
- There may be independent candidates standing also, and you might need to find contact information for their campaign office through an internet search or via the Australian Electoral Commission website.
It can be helpful to let candidates know the questions you’d like to ask in the forum, and whether you’ll be inviting the audience to also ask questions once you’ve addressed the main topics you’re interested in. If you’re not sure what questions you’d like to ask, some suggestions are below.
- Invite a suitable person to host the forum, ask the questions of your candidates and manage questions and discussion between candidates and the audience.
- Promote your election forum widely within your church or community group.
- Run your forum as planned.
- Afterwards, don’t forget to thank all your candidates for participating, and for the people who have helped you run the event.
- Tell us you’ve taken action!
Suggested forum questions – aged care
- How can we ensure enough funding is available for older Australians as demand for aged care services increases over the next 10 years?
- What actions would you take to make it simpler for older people to access aged care services?
- How will the next government adapt to changes as people spend longer in their homes, and enter residential care with more complex needs?
- Baptist Care organisations that provide aged care say that it’s difficult to find employees with the right skills to provide quality care. What would you do to fix this problem?
- What is your party’s policy in relation to older Australians contributing to the cost of their aged care?
- The Aged Care Royal Commission is currently underway. What do you think aged care might look like once the Commission is finished?