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The Aged Care Royal Commission will today begin its hearings in Hobart to investigate how older people are cared for, and what must be done to make these services better. This is an important milestone seeing as reports suggest two major providers of aged care in Tasmania have failed to meet the aged care quality standards, placing the health, safety and wellbeing of residents at significant risk.

Today’s hearing comes 10 days after the Commission’s damning interim report was released, which provided an alarming insight into an aged care sector in desperate need of reform. The sector has deep systemic issues, which will require greater Federal Government investment and significant structural change.

The Federal Government must immediately adopt the recommendations of the interim report and release more Home Care Packages, reduce the reliance on chemical restraints and keep young people with a disability out of aged care. People need help right now. We can’t wait for the final report to improve the way we look after our most vulnerable.

I am hopeful that the hearings will provide a blueprint for reforming the aged care sector. Australia is a rich and clever country that should know how, and be able to afford, to care for our elderly to the world’s very best standards.