Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001

Other title

Parliamentary Record 27


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 28 February 2001 residential aged care places with high-level support needs for our senior Territorians. This was indeed the case with the recent media focus on aged care patients at Royal Darwin Hospital. The opposition spokesman put out a release on 31 January which was so full of holes you could drive a truck through it. He claimed that Territory aged care was in crisis, and that it was placing an extra burden on Royal Darwin Hospital by creating delays in casualty. Wrong. He claimed that it created delays in people going in for elective surgery. Wrong. He also claimed that it created longer waitmg lists for (hospital) beds, and went on to paint the picture of people suffering dementia, walking around the halls of Royal Darwin Hospital. Wrong, wrong, wrong! The member for Wanguri must be spending too much time with the member for Fannie Bay - it seems he is becoming a media junkie and inventing stories to suit his own fairytale agenda. Of course, I wasnt surprised to see the tag-team twin-act Paul Nieuwenhoven continue the ruse just 24 hours later when he claimed on ABC radio that the 30 people on the supposed waitlist were being housed at (Royal Darwin) Hospital. The next day, Royal Darwin Hospitals Medical Superintendent, Len Notaras, was compelled to answer the allegation with the very simple fact that patients who are admitted to hospital, whether aged or not, were done so due to a medical condition. And even despite the confirmation at the time that there were only nine aged care patients waiting for a residential aged care placement at the hospital, the member for Wanguri continued to peddle last week the mistruths in his electorate newsletter that he is: Reliably informed there are regularly between 25 and 30 senior Territorians at RDH waiting for a nursing home bed. After last weeks performance in this House, one is taken aback at the deliberate misinformation which is spread by the member. With respect to the Myilly Point development, I can advise those negotiations between the government and the Moran group is continuing, and I am hopeful of an outcome in the very near future. There has been some concern raised regarding access to beds by pensioners to this new facility. It should be clearly stated that any facilities funded by the Commonwealth in Darwin must accept at least 27% of their residents as concessional. Given that Darwin has an estimated 80% of the aged care residents assessed as concessional, it is highly likely the majority of occupants of any new beds will be pensioners. Finally, in relation to residential care, I am very pleased to advise that all facilities in the Northern Territory have been certified and accredited, which indicates that all our aged care facilities meet the high-level quality standards set by the Commonwealth. It should be reiterated, however, that our first priority is to support people in their own homes, among family, with nursing home care necessary only when high levels of care are required beyond that familys capacity. Turning to community aged care packages, I can inform honourable members that senior Territorians will also have increased access in the Territory. Following discussions with the Commonwealth, an additional 124 community aged care packages have been allocated to the Northern Territory, 33 of which are to be located in Darwin and 25 in Alice Springs, with the remaining packages allocated to remote areas - indeed a good news story. This has almost doubled the number of packages available in the Northern Territory. More importantly, the Territory has the highest number of CACPs per person aged 70 and over compared to any other jurisdiction. It is important at this juncture to outline exactly what CACPs are. CACPs enable people who are at the hostel-level of care to stay at home, rather than being admitted to residential care. This is achieved by providing funds to a person to purchase services such as home help, personal care, transport, and a number of other community services. These packages provide a real alternative to residential care, and potentially the increased packages will reduce the waiting list for low-level residential care. For example, whilst Alice Springs has 18 people waiting for low-level (hostel) care, the recent allocation of 25 packages will mean that many people will now have the option of staying at home rather than being admitted to a hostel. The Commonwealths initiatives with CACPs is innovative and to be applauded. Another example of how the Territorys approach to aged care is viewed nationally is in the area of transition care. At the national aged care officials meeting in Brisbane in December 2000, all jurisdictions supported the Northern Territory transitional care model as a best practice option for transition from hospital to the community. This program, while initially funded by the Commonwealth as a pilot project, is now being trialed by the Northern Territory government. The program provides a coordinated package of care for up to eight weeks for aged people who have been in hospital, had an acute illness, or had some form of crisis and need additional assistance to manage at home. This program has been very successful in reducing the number of people being readmitted to RDH and/or being admitted to a nursing home. Our statistics confirm that in 1999 7505