UnitingCare Australia welcomes the Pension Review Background Paper released yesterday, but says more needs to be done to protect the rights of those who are marginalised and vulnerable.
UnitingCare Australia is calling on the Australian Government to extend the proposed increase in pensions to all who need income support.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Susan Helyar said today UnitingCare Australia supports a progressive tax system that distributes the benefits of the economic boom fairly across the whole community.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said today social services staff can now look forward to adequate wages for the essential work they do.
UnitingCare Australia has called on the Federal Government to reconsider limiting tax concessions for superannuation contributions for the richest Australians in order to fund other public policy priorities.
UnitingCare Australia believes that every older Australian should be able to live well, as part of their community, with dignity and independence, and in a place of their choosing.
In the new environment of consumer-led and demand-driven agedcare, older Australians should have access to the appropriate and affordable support and care services that they need, when they need them.
UnitingCare Australia supports the reform of the agedcare system and the move to consumer-driven care.
However, UnitingCare Australia believes older Australians will need assistance in making the transition to the new models of care and that the most vulnerable and those with high care needs will need additional support to ensure they are able to make informed choices.
UnitingCare also believes the agedcare system needs to be adequately funded to be sustainable into the future, and that funding cuts threaten the viability of providers and the quality of care provided to older Australians.
In spite of the ambitious reforms, high quality agedcare remains out of the reach of many older people.
Almost 15,000 older Australians experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness and one in twelve older Australians experience significant financial or social disadvantage.
Other older Australians do not have access to quality, flexible, accessible care in the location of their choosing.
People with high care needs, people living in rural and remote areas, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, can face even greater difficulties accessing appropriate services and supports.
Couples can also face significant challenges in accessing care that meets all their needs and respects their status.
Services are under increasing pressure to meet the demand for specialised care for people with dementia and other complex care needs and carers often struggle to meet the needs of their partner or relative at home. The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to rise to more than 400,000 within five years.
Older people needing care can still face lengthy delays. In 2013-14, only 69 per cent of those needing care entered residential high care within three months of assessment and only 62 per cent entered residential low care within that time.
Only 59 per cent of people commencing Home Care received services within three months of approval.
The aged sector faces a number of workforce challenges including difficulties recruiting qualified staff to residential aged care and the need to develop and maintain a flexible workforce to deliver consumer-driven care.
UnitingCare's Aged Care Network is an advisory network that assists in identifying issues requiring national action. Members of this body are drawn from across the UnitingCare network.
The role of the Aged Care Network is to develop, review and reflect upon the policies and practices of the Uniting Church in its community services ministry with people; and contribute to the advocacy of UnitingCare Australia.
The principal purpose of the proposed legislative process is to provide a measure against which to assess policy and legislative settings that impact on an individuals’ superannuation investments, either during the accumulation or retirement phase.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds has called for tomorrow's Federal Budget to begin a national discussion about ageing in Australia.
“Australia has an ageing population. Treasury projects that over the next 40 years, the proportion of the population over 65 years of age will almost double to around 25 per cent,” said Ms Hatfield Dodds.
As you are likely aware, UnitingCare agencies manage 12 per cent of all residential aged care places in Australia and are a major provider of community-based services used by older people.
As a major service provider, UnitingCare Australia advocated for and welcomes the ongoing aged care reform process, and actively participates in the consultation opportunities offered by the Australian Government.
We take this opportunity to provide feedback to the Committee on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Pensions) Bill 2015.
This bill contains several measures that UnitingCare Australia supports, consistent with our position that budget expenditure should be targeted to those most vulnerable.