Aged care a 'top priority' for Ken O'Dowd

FEDERAL member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd vowed to make aged care in regional Queensland a top priority during discussions in Parliament.

Mr O'Dowd recently visited Mundubbera, in the North Burnett, where he listened to stories of the community's problems handling an increasingly aged population while the town's health centre struggles to find room to provide care.

"Regional Queensland is growing older and the fact of the matter is that the Mundubbera Health Centre is operating at maximum capacity right now, which is really unacceptable," he said.

"I have heard from a lot of people today; they are getting desperate and it's my job to help them."

One such solution could come from the federal government's Aged Care Approval Rounds, with applications to the programme opening again in August.

"This programme is intended to enable prospective and existing approved aged care providers to apply for a range of new Commonwealth funded aged care places," Mr O'Dowd said.

Mr O'Dowd says that he intends to invite Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield to tour regional Queensland with him as a way of showing him the extent of the aged care issue in rural areas.

The Observer understands that if the tour is organised, Gladstone is likely to be on the itinerary.

"I have extended an invitation to the Minister to visit us up here, and aged care will be at the front of my mind," he said.

The member for Flynn acknowledges that the issue of aged care is not unique to the Mundubbera community.

"Aged care is becoming a bigger problem as our population is growing older, but we've identified the problem and the next step will be to propose reasonable strategies for handling the situation," he said.

For the moment, the member for Flynn says he is dedicated to helping regional communities cope with the problem and he will argue in Parliament for greater assistance for aged care providers.



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