Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
Date: Thursday, 31 March 2022
David Lipson: The Finance Minister, Simon Birmingham. He's on the line now. Thanks for joining me, Senator. On the face of it, a pretty substantial aged care package from Labor. Is there anything there that the government doesn't support?
Simon Birmingham: Well, good evening, David. What we heard tonight were sweeping promises, but not a single word on what they will cost or who will pay. Anthony Albanese has confirmed that Labor has no plan for Australia's economy, no plan to keep it strong, no plan to create jobs and not a word in terms of how they would manage the budget, manage taxes or indeed pay for these promises. Our government over the last two budgets has outlined $19.2 billion in additional investment into aged care, not just residential aged care, but also home care to provide choice to senior Australians as well as quality of care.
David Lipson: So Labor would be backing that money as well. This is on top of that. I'll ask you again, you've pointed out it may not be costed at this point, but the policies themselves. Do you support them?
Simon Birmingham: Well, David, we support the policies that we've outlined, which is $19.2 billion worth of additional investment into aged care, supporting Australians with choice in terms of quality home care services as well as quality care in a residential care setting. Our policies are going to deliver mandated 200 minutes per day of time and care per resident with individuals, with staff, including 40 minutes per day with a registered nurse on average. So we've already acted very comprehensively on the Aged Care Royal Commission report.
David Lipson: What about this promise of a registered nurse on site 24 seven? Rex Patrick has an amendment that's passed through the Senate just this week. Will the government back it when it goes back to the House?
Simon Birmingham: David, again, this is a promise from the Labor Party without saying what it will cost. Or how they are planning to pay for it.
David Lipson: Is that a yes or no?
Simon Birmingham: What we've outlined already is our response, which includes guaranteed-
David Lipson: Okay, so that's a no. You won't back that?
Simon Birmingham: No, David, we're not giving uncosted promises like the Labor Party. We've actually detailed all of our responses. We've provided the costings for our responses and we've put them into the budget showing how it will be delivered while also lowering taxes for Australians. That's in stark contrast to what you heard from Anthony Albanese tonight. Sweeping promises that seem to be responding to demands from the Health Services Union, but not a single word on what they would cost and not a single word on who or how they will be paid for.
David Lipson: That's the finance minister, Simon Birmingham, great to have your company. Thanks for joining us.
Simon Birmingham: Thanks, David.