Frail seniors forced out of Carnarvon

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianMidwest Times

Three seniors including a 94-year-old war veteran have been forced to leave Carnarvon in the past two weeks because of a lack of aged care beds, according to North West Central member Vince Catania.

He addressed the WA Parliament after the Federal Government announced $970 million for almost 13,000 beds Australia-wide.

“Not one bed will be given to a project for our senior citizens that is ready to go, with $1.76 million having already been spent,” Mr Catania said.

“Carnarvon has missed out yet again on more beds to allow a Carnarvon aged-care facility to finally be built.”

Mr Catania said the previous Liberal–National government allocated $16.9 million of Royalties for Regions funding and up to $1.76 million had been spent on detailed plans for a 38-bed facility at the hospital site.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said $10 million in Federal funding towards this project had been withdrawn when the private operator pulled out.

“We know in regional areas they struggle to attract private providers,” he said.

“Aged care is primarily a Federal Government responsibility, and they should contribute a fair share to this project, which would help some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Member for Durack Melissa Price said the WA Government had applied for $10 million Regional Growth Funding which would never have succeeded as it was the wrong grant for aged care capital works.

“The RGF is aimed at ‘transport and communications, tourism, manufacturing and primary industries’,” she said.

“Federal funds can be obtained for Aged Care capital works through the Aged Care Approvals Round, but State Governments are not eligible for capital grant funding through the ACAR.”

Ms Price said the eligibility requirement was set out in legislation and could not be waived.

She said State Governments were responsible for capital and infrastructure costs under the “Multi-Purpose Service” program Carnarvon was a part of.

However Ms Price said privately run facilities were eligible for ACAR and Carnarvon’s best option would be a new and larger facility run by a private provider.

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