The Nationals WA have called for the Royal Commission into aged care be expanded to investigate the critical shortage of age-appropriate housing and care providers in regional Western Australia.
Spokesperson for seniors and ageing Peter Rundle congratulated the Prime Minister for calling the Royal Commission, saying poor aged care outcomes were consistently raised with Nationals MPs when they travelled across the State.
Mr Rundle has written to both Mr Morrison and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt to request the terms of reference be expanded.
“The current model of aged care in regional WA is not suitable and The Nationals would like the scope of the Royal Commission widened to investigate this,” he said.
Mr Rundle said work undertaken by his Nationals colleague Terry Redman, the former Minister for Regional Development, in commissioning the Ageing in the Bush Report in 2016, had found alarming gaps in aged care.
“The report found that regional communities face a critical shortage of age-appropriate services, facilities and workforce across the State,” he said.
“Key issues raised were a lack of carer respite, a lack of dementia facilities, the uneven availability of support and care-in-the-home and widespread unmet demand for age-appropriate housing.”
Member for the Agricultural Region Colin de Grussa MLC said too often older people were being forced to leave their community to access the services they require.
“This is having a detrimental effect on the individual and regional communities at-large while also placing undue pressure on metropolitan aged care services,” he said.
“Projected growth rates for the ageing population in regional WA is greater than for metropolitan areas.
“There is a pressing need to address current issues in Geraldton and prepare for future demands.
“It is imperative for the economic and social viability of regional WA that older people can receive the care they need in our communities.
“We want to put a stop to the exodus and make sure those who contribute so much to their communities at least have the option to continue living there into retirement and beyond.”