Scott Morrison shakes off censure of Aged Care Minister over COVID handling – says only 8% of aged care homes affected by outbreaks

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The Prime Minister has hit back at the Labor-led censure of Senator Richard Colbeck on Thursday, noting that a number of other Ministers including John Howard, Paul Keating, Gareth Evans and “my good friend Graham Richardson” had previously been censured by the Senate.

Mr Morrison acknowledged there were “many serious issues that require addressing in aged care” which is why he had ordered the Royal Commission into the sector.

“It is the reason why the Minister for Aged Care came to the Cabinet and said we needed to do more in aged care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and did so in response to the plan that was first launched back in March, and flagged in the COVID pandemic plan, and that has now led to $1.5bn being brought forward and resources to bear in response to the COVID pandemic.”

However, the PM pointed out that despite the “terrible outcomes” in Victoria’s second wave, the majority of the sector was COVID-free.

“Some 8% of facilities in total in Australia, 8% in total, have been affected by COVID infections both by staff and by residents themselves, and that compares to 56% in the United Kingdom,” he said.

“The actions that have been put in place by the government has ensured that we have been able to mitigate what has been a terrible blow as a result of COVID-19 across this country, including in the aged care sector.”

Mr Morrison does have a point. There have now been 481 COVID deaths recorded in aged care in Australia during the pandemic, with more expected.

Compare this to the UK where its Care Quality Commission had reported 14,193 COVID-related deaths between 10 April and 28 August – a space of just four-and-a-half months.