Southern Cross Care Qld welcomes aged care spend, but more detail needed for rural and remote

10 May 2023

Southern Cross Care Queensland has welcomed the Government’s aged care spend announced in last night’s Budget, but says rural and remote communities cannot be forgotten.

CEO Jason Eldering said that there are a range of fantastic measures being introduced which demonstrates a government that is committed to delivering better outcomes.

“We commend the Government’s Budget – all new investment into aged care is welcomed, and the support being directed to health more generally will deliver wonderful benefits for the vulnerable people in our communities.

“The significant contribution to aged care workers in particular, acknowledges these critical members of our community who for far too long have been overlooked.

“Many measures announced last night will support regional providers. However, the situation facing rural and remote providers is very different to our friends in metropolitan areas, and the Budget could have gone further to specifically support those unique challenges.

“Additional new home care packages and the boost to bulk billing are fantastic, but we need to overcome the crisis levels of staffing in regional, rural and remote areas to be able to actually roll out these benefits.

“This Government is clearly committed to delivering for aged care. But the Royal Commission did not go far enough on regional, rural and remote and this Budget was an opportunity to go further.

“We need to understand what the measures announced last night mean for us as regional providers, and what levers have been made available for us to deliver for those we care for.”

Mr Eldering added that examples such as the multi-disciplinary Age Well Community Centre that Southern Cross Care Qld is proposing in Chinchilla, which has been developed alongside the community in which it would be located, present a great example of what can be done.

“We need the Government to recognise the inherent difference and unique difficulties that are faced in the bush, and the fact that these change region to region. Supporting targeted initiatives that respond to the distinctive issues being faced in communities is the best way to deliver the most benefit.”

“The Government has clearly said they will not accept the status quo on health and aged care. We wholeheartedly agree, but the devil will be in the detail of how we turn Budget night speeches into tangible outcomes for Australians.”

Southern Cross Care Qld delivers care services through thirteen aged care facilities, five retirement villages, as well as home care services across Queensland.

In Chinchilla, SCCQ is seeking $3.22 million to establish a multi-disciplinary centre alongside its existing Illoura Village aged care home, in partnership with the local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Goondir and Southern Queensland Rural Health.

It would deliver expanded aged care services, provide the broader community with access to allied health professionals and expand a training hub to help skill and grow a local pool of qualified allied health and nursing professionals undertaking clinical placements.