National Seniors’ election campaign, Seniors Vote 2010, drew to a close with a rally and press conference outside Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday. Check out the full scorecard of what the parties promised below.
After setting election demands and conducting meet-the-candidate forums in 13 marginal seats across the country, the verdict is that both major parties, running small target campaigns, had avoided the big issues.
Speaking at the election wrap, National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill expressed dismay that neither party had addressed key pressure points in the lead-up to Saturday’s poll.
“We’ve had a few crumbs but where are the big issues such as dental health and nursing home staffing shortages?” he asked.
“We went into this election calling for leadership on the tough issues but the campaign has degenerated into a race of personalities rather than policies. Disillusioned older Australians, rather than voting along traditional lines, are seriously considering third party options”.
That said, there are some solid initiatives from both Labor and the Coalition for the over 50s drawn directly from National Seniors’ election demands.
Here’s the rundown of promises made to older Australians by both sides during the campaign. Thanks to everyone who pitched in to ensure the over 50s would have a place on the national agenda.
- Labor promises:
$6,500 Work Bonus for age pensioners undertaking part time work
$4,000 training and assessment to support 7,500 mature aged workers
a dedicated Aged Discrimination Commissioner
a peer support program for grandparents who care for their grandchildren
new protections on reverse mortgage and home reversion schemes, including greater feature and fee disclosure, and statutory protection against negative equity
translation services and cultural awareness training in aged care
Labor also committed to:
increase the Superannuation Guarantee to 12% by 2019-20
extend the superannuation guarantee to workers who are aged between 70 and 75
double the superannuation concessional contributions cap for workers aged 50 and over (and with balances below $500,000)
Aged care policies announced under the Rudd Government in April included: Zero Real Interest Loans for investment in aged care; funding for 286 rural area sub-acute beds or bed-equivalents in Multi-Purpose Services; funding support for GPs visiting nursing homes; state funding for long stay older patients; 1,200 Consumer Directed Care packages; stronger prudential arrangements around bonds and reporting requirements.
- Coalition promises:
a dedicated Minister for Ageing and Seniors
a one-off $3250 Seniors Employment Incentive Payment for employers who hire workers aged 50 or older
index Commonwealth Seniors Health Card income limits
abolish the Superannuation Guarantee age limit from 1 July 2013
a national ‘Safer Seniors Programme’ to provide local councils funding grants to either supplement their existing activities or commence similar programmes in their local communities
- Aged care:
negotiations towards an Aged Care Provider Agreement with the peak aged care bodies about residential aged care and community services arrangements
converting 3,000 already allocated high care residential aged care bed licences into operational places
20,000 convalescent hospital beds
expanding the dementia program to include other chronic degenerative neurological conditions
funding for nursing home pet visiting services
grants to increase the number of volunteers acting as companions to people in nursing homes and the community
health and wellness initiatives to encourage and promote healthy ageing