Wide Bay MP lashes his own party over aged care cuts
Mr O'Brien has released a parliamentary speech where he puts the Coalition Government on notice about cuts which had forced Wide Bay aged-care providers to reduce nursing hours.
"Deputy Speaker, I will not stand for any policy by any government that sees a reduction in the quality of care for our older Australians," he said.
"The aged-care sector must be properly funded, so it can continue to provide high levels of care to our older Australians.
"The full, proper, and responsible care of elderly people is one of my key priorities and a priority the people of Wide Bay have elected me to act on."
The Parliament of Australia's 2016-17 Budget analysis said there was a tightening of funding for residential aged-care providers, but this was partly off-set by some extra funding for regional aged care. "The combined effect of aged-care measures in the budget is a reduction in expenditure of $902.7million over five years," it said.
Mr O'Brien, in his earlier maiden speech, spoke of his concern about the way government was funding residential aged care, "particularly in the area of complex care".
He said Wide Bay had a greater-than-average aging demographic and "how government supports aged care is a very important issue for me and my electorate".
"Providers have told me that changes to aged-care funding have already caused cuts to nursing hours," he said.
Mr O'Brien said providers had spoken of their difficulties with changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument that are resulting in local cuts to funding.
"These are of great concern to me, also," Mr O'Brien said.
The ACFI is a tool used to assess the care needs of permanent residents through a series of questions that determine funding.