14 February 2021
The lobby group, calling itself the Australian Aged Care Collaboration, is spearheaded by the main church-backed providers — Catholic Health Care, Anglicare, Baptist Health Care, UnitingCare Australia — as well as not-for-profit, charity and private operators. Some of its players will be adroit campaigners on the ground, eager to follow in the footsteps of the push by the Catholic and independent school sectors against the Turnbull government in 2018. This alliance, however, will be targeting all parties. One electorate in the firing line is Flinders, held by Health Minister Greg Hunt. Mr Hunt holds it by 2.8 per cent and more than half its voters are aged 55 or over.
The group is highlighting clear shortfalls in the system. In 2016-17, for example, 16,000 people died while awaiting government-subsidised support in their own homes. About 100,000 people are currently waiting for home support, with those in need of the highest level packages typically waiting at least 12 months. A further 88,000 places will be needed in communal residential aged care over the next decade, at a cost of $55bn. According to the alliance, Australia devotes 1.2 per cent of GDP to aged care, compared with the OECD average of 2.5 per cent of GDP.