Aged care facilities are left out in the cold by fed govt

01 September, 2009

Australia’s aged care facilities have been left out in the cold by the Federal Government’s derisory insulation and solar power rebates under the Energy Efficient Homes scheme, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) CEO Greg Mundy has said.

“Six months ago the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, urged nursing homes and hostel operators to apply for the rebates,” Mundy said.

“The Minister enthusiastically stated that ‘insulation will increase comfort for residents and save nursing home operators money, as well as helping tackle climate change’.

“However, it transpired that these facilities were entitled to the same rebate that applies to a single dwelling. When challenged on the obvious inadequacy of the rebate, the Minister promised a review and consultation.

“Now, after six months of waiting for the issue to be resolved, we have learned there is to be no change. The news did not come from the Minister or her office, or even the Department of Health and Ageing but in answer to ACSA’s query to the Department on the status of the rebate.

“The Department’s website now advises that ‘nursing homes and hostels can apply for insulation assistance of up to $1,000 per dwelling’. That is $1,000 per facility. Nothing has changed.

“This is an offence to older Australians living in aged care facilities, and of absolutely no assistance in helping to tackle climate change.

“Aged care facilities are home for more than 160,000 Australians and there is no discernable reason why they should be denied the same entitlements that apply to everyone else.

“Minister Elliot may believe it is acceptable to run ‘hot and cold’ on aged care issues but for older Australians the cold and the heat they feel are very real. Why can’t aged care facilities receive a real insulation rebate Minister Elliot?”