One of the numerous unfortunate consequences of the false narrative that we are facing an “ageing crisis” is that it is used to justify attacks on the assets of retirees and older Australians.
This is happening again in the Pre-Budget Submissions being made to and now being considered by the Federal Government. For example Catholic Health Australia, a major aged care provider, is urging the Government to allow them to factor in the whole value of a pensioner’s home, rather than just the first $169,000, which is the case at present.
They point to research which shows that over 200,000 pensioners are outright owners of homes which are worth over $1 million. They go on to describe such people as wealthy, and say that they should be paying more for their aged care.
The reality is that pensioners are not wealthy. Their house is something they have worked for, and they should not have to sell it to pay for their aged care. There may well be other family members who are living in it. Furthermore, although it is presented as "rich older people should contribute more", in the hands of government it is all too likely to be used as an excuse for government to pay less, with no improvement at all in the quality or standards of care.
Rather than looking for ways to extract more money from retirees, Government and the aged care sector should knuckle down and implement the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report on elder abuse. This report was handed down in 2017, but little has been done to put it into effect.
The Hon. Kelvin Thomson
National Media Spokesperson
Sustainable Australia Party