The Federal Government today announced a $739-million dollar package aimed at taking responsibility for the aged care industry.

But the proposed health care reform depends on the agreement from state leaders.

Jemma Cutting reports.


The Federal Government’s multi-million dollar package will support the development of twenty-five hundred new aged care places by offering zero real interest rate loans to providers.

The package will also give two-hundred and eighty million dollars to the states and territories, to fund older Australians stuck in hospital, waiting for aged care beds.

Justine Elliot, Minister for Ageing: “This investment of seven hundred and thirty-nine million dollars, is about providing more services and access to more services for our older Australians.”

The package will also increase payments to GPs to provide more services in aged care homes.

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister: “This investment will support around five thousand aged care places or beds and help to end the blame game that hurts hospitals and aged care services at present.”

Mr Rudd believes the current aged care system is fragmented, dividing responsibilities between Commonwealth and State Governments.

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister: “We cannot and will not make fundamental new investments in the future of our health and hospital systems, unless we fix first the structure of that system.”

The reform still has another hurdle to overcome at the Council of Australian Governments meeting next week.

The state leaders will meet In Canberra next Monday, however if they fail to agree and sign on to the proposed health reform plan, the Prime Minister hasn’t ruled out calling a referendum on the issue.

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister: “If we cannot negotiate an agreement by consensus, then of course we have said we’d seek a further mandate from the people.”

Queensland looks to be on board.

Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier: “We think that reform is necessary and we want to be part of it and we don’t want to see it de-rail.”

Jemma Cutting, QUT News