Franklin, M. ‘Aged care sector raps minister,’ The Australian, July 08, 2008.

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Kevin Rudd faces a revolt from the aged care industry over what it describes as the disappointing and frustrating performance of Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot.
In the most direct attack on a minister since the Rudd Government was elected last November, the Aged Care Association Australia yesterday savaged Ms. Elliot over her “constant criticism” of nursing homes, in a letter pointedly copied to the Prime Minister and three senior ministers.
The association, which represents the bulk of the nation’s private and community-based nursing homes, accused Ms. Elliot of misrepresenting various reports and statistics to fuel an “opportunistic”, anti-industry media campaign. And it says much of her criticism is based on “a complete lack of understanding” of the industry.
“Minister, this industry is becoming extremely tired and frustrated at what can only be described as constant criticism of aged care providers,” ACAA chief executive officer Rod Young writes in the letter, also sent to The Australian. “The negative attitude from your office regarding any apparent opportunity to portray the industry as operating poorly is, to say the least, very disappointing.”
But Ms. Elliot hit back, vowing she would not take a backward step on the welfare of nursing home residents and financial accountability. “This is about making sure frail and older Australians in nursing homes are getting the care taxpayers are paying for,” she said. “Good aged care providers have nothing to worry about from this process. I have seen world-class facilities and programs in every state and territory. But make no mistake, I have no time for anyone who abuses or neglects our society’s most vulnerable members.”
Mr. Rudd promoted Ms. Elliot to his front bench after his election victory, despite the fact that she had not held a frontbench position in Opposition.
In the months since, Ms. Elliot has taken an activist approach to her job, accompanied by a strong media presence, to highlight her desire to protect nursing home residents. Her actions have included requiring all nursing home workers to undergo police checks. She has also increased the number of unannounced inspections of homes to ensure they comply with standards of care.
And last week, Ms. Elliot told The Australian that more than one in three of the nation’s 2870 nursing homes had over-claimed federal government funds in the nine months to March 31. She said the Government would conduct 5000 reviews of the books of nursing homes this year to ensure they did not claim more subsidies than they were entitled to.


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