One of my first acts as PM was to call a royal commission into the aged care sector. And also to look specifically at the issues of young Australians who find themselves in aged care facilities around the country.
I said at the time that I believed it would be a very uncomfortable exercise for all Australians as we listen to the stories and were shocked and disturbed at the treatment of our older Australians in their moments of greatest vulnerability.
I think there are few families around the country, my own included, who are not unfamiliar with the difficult decisions that are made about relatives and loved ones who are placed into aged care facilities, whether those residential facilities or they’re accessing in home care. It’s a very sensitive issue.
And rightly so for all Australians.
In commissioning the royal commission, my intent was to ensure that we could shine quite a bright light, that we could learn deeply from the experiences and the practices that the royal commission was able to identify, and to assist us and deal with an issue which is not new.
The royal commission’s interim report, as talked about settings and processes and issues that are not new, that go back over many administrations over a long period of time.
But it befalls to our government to be able to address the issues that are being identified out of the royal commission.
As we’ve had the interim response report from the royal commission, it is now tasked to provide an immediate response to that interim report, as I promised I would do before the end of the year.
Addressing the specific issues that they highlighted in that interim report. These responses together do go to those matters. But
I want to stress again that what we really need to establish above and beyond everything else is a culture of respect for older Australians. That this cultural change that has once again been highlighted I think by the interim report of the royal commission, it is something that goes to each and every Australian home.
We will do our part as part of making that shift in that culture and also to do the practical things that are necessary now.