How much more inappropriate housing developments will Moyne Shire endorse? A letter was posted out to Port Fairy residents the week before Christmas supporting rezoning flood plain to residential land to allow a seven hectare 72 house development called Rivers Run Estate. It is to be built close to the Port Fairy township in the Belfast Lough environs. As part of the Port Fairy Coastal and Structure Plan accepted by the council this land is to become Rural Conservation Zone "to reflect the environmental and landscape values of the area and to recognise the land is subject to combined riverine, estuarine and coastal inundation". The Port Fairy Coastal and Structure Plan, C69, has been held back from Victorian Planning Minister approval so this development can be attached to it. It is time to stand up to the council and the developer and say no.
Jane Ryan, Port Fairy
Recently a magistrate at the Warrnambool court sentenced a man who had assaulted a police woman to unpaid community work (The Standard, December 23). The police officer sustained head injuries causing severe medical problems. I, as a private citizen, was deeply disturbed by this decision which could easily have been a fatal attack. May I suggest the magistrate concerned one evening accompany the police on a routine patrol and experience the obstacles and violence they have to experience 24/7.
Hugh Jones, Warrnambool
A recent Green Paper from the Institute of Actuaries should be obligatory holiday reading for both Treasurer Frydenberg and his opposite Jim Chalmers. It predicts spending on aged care will double by the end of the decade. That's just the beginning. Costs will go up by an average of 7 per cent a year for the next 20 years. Treasury's 2021 Intergenerational Report only predicted costs would rise by about 4 per cent per year to 2040.
The Morrison government in Budget 2021 committed $17.7 billion to fund the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety reforms over what is now four years. But no detailed plan was provided on how to pay for this.
We're overdue for a clear financial plan to deal with this, otherwise the Aged Care Royal Commission will go down in history as a waste of time and money. More significantly the aged care horrors exposed by the Royal Commission will continue to alarm everyone and haunt us as we all head to old age.
We're now in election mode so it's time both political parties faced up to the reality of long-term funding for the Royal Commission vision of quality aged care. They need to be transparent about how they intend to support and improve aged care. It must be done with sufficient financing for those receiving care now and the baby boom generation that's soon to be needing it.
This is by far Australia's dominant social issue for the next 20 years after which the baby boom bulge flattens. There are almost 6 million baby boomers. The oldest are now in their mid-70s, so we're looking at millions needing care in the decades to come. We will need a workforce of close to one million by 2050. That's more than double the workers we have today.
We should note these actuarial costings do not include the significant contributions of family and friends who supply care. Increasingly older people are opting to stay in their own home, and this is being encouraged by policy makers as a lower cost choice.
We must be mindful of how this change will be funded to ensure quality care at home. It will shift significant burdens onto older children, which women bear more than men.
Since the 1970s, in my working career, it's been political poison to cut funds to older people and to put the care costs back onto them. One policy that did this artfully were residential aged care deposits which required a significant deposit to cover care costs with the balance being returned after departure without interest. Similar novel ideas are not yet in public discussion.
So how do we meet the costs of care?
The latest National Seniors Social Survey of 5430 people 50+ found a majority supported the idea of a levy, however the Prime Minister and Opposition leader have both spoken against this idea. There's a political dilemma. Voters don't like talk of taxes at election time. So, it's likely this won't appear in any election platforms. But we need to be reassured it's in the line of sight of all parties and we aren't looking into a black hole.
In the lead up to the last budget, we argued for robust independent analysis to decide the most efficient and fairest way to fund the Royal Commission reforms. It may be a levy, a small rise in GST, increased user pays, or it may be a combination of all these options.
We have a bi partisan approach to funding disability. We need the same for aged care. We suggest all parties announce, as part of their election platforms, an agreement to investigate the most efficient, the fairest and sustainable way to fund the future of aged care.
Then accept what is proposed - regardless of which party wins.
If we don't, the black hole will grow, and it will kill off any chance of real reform.
National Seniors Australia CEO Professor John McCallum.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.