Aged care focus should be funding: Labor

Australia’s aged care system is ‘in a fundamental state of crisis’ but a royal commission into the issue may not be necessary, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.
Mr Shorten would not rule out a push for a commission but said the national focus should instead be on supporting staff and funding the sector.
“We are setting our aged care system up to fail when we don’t properly fund it nationally,” he told reporters in Adelaide.
Mr Shorten was first asked whether he would support calls for a royal commission on Monday night’s episode of the ABC’s ‘Q&A’ program, which was broadcast from a suburb north of Adelaide.
The question was asked by Stewart Johnson, whose mother was one of the residents at the now-closed Oakden aged care facility.
Findings of maladministration were made against five people over several failings at the centre that accommodated elderly people with mental health issues.
Mr Shorten replied he was ‘fired up’ about the issue and would consider a royal commission.
“I can’t cavalierly announce it, but what I’m trying to convey to you is ‘I think you’ve got a point’,” he said.
But during a visit to an Adelaide primary school on Tuesday, Mr Shorten said he was “not convinced” of the need for a commission.
“I think that the nation does know a lot of what we need to do,” he said.
“We need to make sure we’ve got qualified staff, we need to make sure there’s career paths for (the) aged care workforce, we need to put more money into it.”