Statements by Members - Aged Care Crisis

Today I had the privilege of meeting Shirley, Ashka and Katie, who between them have worked more than 30 years in aged care. They came to Canberra to implore this parliament to address the aged-care crisis that is gripping this country. We also heard from Roslyn, who finished her evening shift last night but was so determined to speak up for the residents she cares about that she came to Canberra to speak to MPs.

It is aged-care residents who are bearing the brunt of this crisis. More than 500 have died with COVID since New Year's Day. It is an horrendous toll, with every one of those deaths a person: a mother or a father, a grandparent, a valued and loved member of our community—somebody to be valued, someone who is not expendable.

Long before we had heard of coronavirus, aged care was in crisis. We had a royal commission about it—Neglect! The report made 148 recommendations, and it's been left to gather dust by this rotten Liberal government. The coronavirus pandemic has only made the crisis worse. Staff are calling in sick and can't be replaced. Residents are being locked in their rooms. They're not being fed on time, nor cleaned, nor showered. Nurses, carers, volunteers and families are tearing their hair out while the PM does photo-ops, washing hair. Four weeks ago, they asked the government to send in ADF assistance. This Prime Minister at first said no and then changed his mind. It's always too little, too late.