Television Interview with Natalie Barr – Sunrise – Friday 4 August 2023

FRIDAY, 4th AUGUST 2023 

SUBJECTS: Aged care review. 

NATALIE BARR: Funding to fix the quality of aged care may soon come out of your super. The Albanese Government is considering a number of options to fix the sector and one of them includes ring fencing, part of a person’s super to help cover their future care. Other proposals include a Medicare style levy or higher means tested fees. Let’s bring in Education Minister Jason Clare and Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley. Good morning to you both. Jason, tell us how seriously the government is considering a plan to use a slice of our super for our aged care costs.

JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: Good morning, Nat. We had a Royal Commission. It showed appalling neglect in our aged care system for our elderly Australians. Maggots in wounds, people left in soiled nappies, people who weren’t fed, people who weren’t looked after. We’re fixing that. We’re implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

This is a review into the future of aged care and a submission by an industry group into some of the ways to do that. But it’s an independent review. It’ll report to the government at the end of this year, and we’ll see what the recommendations of that are then and whether we should support them or not.

BARR: Yeah. So, would you consider using a slice of a person’s super to pay for the aged care costs?

CLARE: Nat, this is an independent review. I’m doing exactly the same thing with universities. Appoint a bunch of experts, give us some advice, they report by the end of the year in the university review I’m doing, just the same here as the aged care review. We’ll see the ideas that they come up with and whether they’re good, bad or indifferent. But what we don’t want to do is see a repeat of the mistakes of the past. I don’t think anybody will want to see the awful neglect that occurred over the last decade.

BARR: And it’s horrendous. And I think half of aged care centres can’t even afford to operate. But is that something that you look at and think, well, that could be a good idea?

CLARE: I don’t want to interpose or interfere in the whole process. The whole point of an independent review is not for politicians to say what they like or what they don’t like, but get the expert advice, invite feedback from the community and then the politicians can look at it at the end of the year.

BARR: Okay, Sussan, what do you think of this idea?

SUSSAN LEY: Well, now, this is really personal for me. My mum is in aged care, I visit her every weekend when I can, and all of us as local members, visit our aged care providers around our electorates. So, I want to recognise the great work that our workforce in aged care does. It’s not easy. I want to absolutely back in the way that aged care supports older Australians who’ve contributed so much in Australia to this country, their dignity and the fact that they’re people and we should love them and respect them in their later years. Now, we will work constructively with the government, of course we will, because we all want to get this right. I did note that the Aged Care Minister didn’t rule out new taxes. I hope that the government doesn’t immediately reach for the grab bag of levies and taxes to address this issue, because we don’t necessarily need to do that. But it is important that we work constructively together on this. And, on that I do agree with Jason this morning.

BARR: Okay, so it sounds like everything’s on the table at the moment until we get the expert report. We thank you very much. We’ll see you next week.