Fact sheet

Fact Check: Bill Shorten says the Government has cut nearly $2 billion from aged-care services. Is he correct?

Liberal Party of Australia Aged care
Weeks out from the 2019 federal election, Labor attacked the Government over cuts to aged-care funding, which Opposition Leader Bill Shorten claimed amounted to nearly $2 billion. Mr Shorten's claim is misleading. In the 2016-17 budget, the Government decided to pare out $1.2 billion of "efficiencies" over four years, largely by reducing the subsidies paid to aged-care providers to tackle potential over-claiming and an unexpected cost blowout. That came on the heels of savings of $472 million announced in the December 2015 mid-year budget update. Despite these "efficiencies", the overall level of Commonwealth funding provided for aged care has increased on an annual basis for at least the past decade. The 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years were no exception. This is hardly surprising, with Australia's ageing population leading to growing numbers of aged-care recipients, increased care requirements, and higher care costs. According to RMIT ABC Fact Check's analysis, funding has consistently increased across a range of indicators: in nominal dollar amounts; in real terms (after adjusting for inflation); as a proportion of total expenses; and as a dollar amount per aged-care resident per day. Fact Check does not consider an adjustment to the growth in future spending to represent a "cut" when the overall level of spending continues to rise.
Verdict: Misleading
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