Bill Shorten’s claims about aged care cuts found to be misleading

Bill Shorten’s claims about aged care cuts found to be misleading
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Photo by Matt Roberts, ABC via Wikimedia Commons

The latest article under the ABC’s RMIT ‘Fact check’ has found that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s claims regarding aged care funding have been misleading.

The verdict follows the saga that emerged following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a Royal Commission into the aged care sector just prior to an ABC Four Corners report that revealed a disturbing trend of neglect and abuse of elderly residents in aged care facilities around Australia.

In the same week during Parliament question time, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten made the claim that, in his time as treasurer, the newly appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison had cut 1.2 billion dollars from aged care funding in his first federal budget.

The question was framed as a means of questioning the Prime Minister’s commitment to aged care and implied that the 1.2 billion dollar cut was partly responsible for reported failures in the aged care sector.

Following an investigation into the figures, the ABC’s RMIT fact check has found Mr Shorten’s claim to be misleading, citing that while the budget had decided to pare 1.2 billion dollars in “efficiencies” over a four year period, the annual Commonwealth spend on aged care has actually increased year after year.

In their article, ABC’s fact check cited expert opinions that characterised what Mr Shorten called a ‘cut’ as a means of better targeting aged care funding and addressing issues such as over-claiming by certain aged care providers.

In the lead up to the election, this news may be potentially damaging for Labor despite predictions that the vote will still swing primarily in their favour.