One third of Australians want aged care reform

Thursday 15th November, 2012

Almost one in three Australian voters want the federal government to devote billions of dollars of funding towards boosting the availability of aged care resources, according to a recent survey.

The survey of over 1,000 Australians, conducted by Essential Research last week, asked participants a number of questions about federal politics, government funding, voting intentions and preferred future funding/reform options.

“The federal government are proposing to implement a number of reforms, which will require funding of billions of dollars,” the survey asked.

“Which of the following reforms do you think is most important?”

The survey posed several options from education to aged care reform, to the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the redirection of water to the Murray River.

The results showed that 31 per cent thought the government’s most important proposed reform is extra school funding as recommended by the Gonski Review, while 29 per cent said they favoured increased resources for aged care.

“Increased resources for aged care” was mostly favoured by Liberal/National voters (37 per cent) and those aged 45-plus (42 per cent).

CEO of COTA Australia and key spokesperson for the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA), Ian Yates, said he is encouraged by the results but not surprised.

“I think the enormous support we got during the [NACA] Age Well campaign shows that it’s not only older people who are concerned about aged care reform but their families and friends,” Mr Yates said.

“It shows us what we have always known – that aged care was of concern to a significant proportion of Australians.”

The Australians Deserve to Age Well campaign, commonly referred to as the ‘Age Well’ campaign involved a sectorwide push from providers, trade unions and consumer groups, to successfully get aged care reform over the line in the 2012/13 federal budget.

“What reform and the Age Well campaign has done to-date is that it has consolidated people’s interests and ….created a recognition that something has to be done about aged care.

“The government has responded, in-part, [to the need to reform the sector] but there’s more that needs to be done.”

A total of only 16 per cent of survey respondents said they prefer government money to be allocated towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme; while 12 per cent said they want funding to be directed to the Murray River project (returning water to the dam).

Mr Yates said that although the poll compared the government initiative preferences of voters, aged care reform is not in competition with education or disability reform.

Instead, he said, they are all priorities which bear both economic and social significance.

“There is a clear message here…Aged care remains extremely relevant [to voters].

“The fact is the government has only done some of [the reform] job so that means we will continue to push all three parties to finishing the job.”

To view the survey results, visit the Essential Report here.