One-third of Australians blame Federal Government for aged care COVID outbreaks, Essential poll shows – one-third in favour of increase to Medicare levy to fund sector improvements

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A sign of the times?

Voters still mostly blame aged care providers for COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care, with 41% attributing blame there, but the Federal Government has now overtaken the Victorian State Government for a share of the blame – 31% to 28% respectively, according to the latest poll released on Tuesday.

The survey of 1,076 voters – which was carried out before Mr Morrison’s criticism of Victoria’s Stage 4 lockdown extensions, but after recent disagreements with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews about responsibility for deaths in aged care – found women, people aged over 55, and Coalition voters were more likely to blame providers for COVID cases, while Labor voters were more likely to hold the Federal Government responsible (42%).

77% of respondents also agreed that the authorities failed to prepare for aged care outbreaks, that the impact has been worsened by underfunding (72%), that hygiene in private care homes is poor (69%) and community transmission is to blame (67%) – the line used by the Government, in particular Aged Care Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck, to defends its handling.

The poll also uncovered some support to increase the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.65% to fund improvements to aged care, with 36% in favour, 32% opposed and 32% on the fence.

As we covered here yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruled out any plans to raise the levy to fund aged care – is this support enough for him to reconsider?