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Catholic Health urges "savings vehicle" to finance aged care

In response to yesterday's announcement on superannuation by Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, Catholic Health Austraia (CHA) called for a dedicated savings vehicle to meet the costs of health and aged care in old age.

The Treasurer (pictured) announced significant changes to the superannuation system in response to the challenge of Australia's ageing population. Retirees will gain greater flexibility on when and how they receive superannuation benefits, encouraging older people to work part-time while receiving a partial pension from their super.

CHA CEO Francis Sullivan said it is not reasonable to assume that all people will have adequate assets and superannuation to meet the increasing user charges in health and aged care for older people.

"People are living longer and becoming sicker later in life," he said. "Today 90% of people over 85 entering residential aged care have very few assets, with exception of their home, to contribute to their care."

"Without absolving the government of its responsibility to properly fund essential health and aged care services, it is crucial that a dedicated savings vehicle be established to help meet an individual's share of the costs of care in old age.

"We need a dedicated savings vehicle which will help people in the end stage of life, not just a retirement measure to assist with post work living."

Catholic Health Australia - the nation's single largest ownership grouping of non government health, aged and community care service - plans to submit a series of policy directions to the Government in the lead up to the federal budget.

Savings Vehicle for Health and Aged Care Needed (Catholic Health Australia 25/2/04)

Govt plan fails to address cost of aged care (ABC Radio 'PM' 25/2/04)
New age of the super worker (Sydney Morning Herald 26/2/04)
Federal Treasurer | A more flexible and adaptable retirement income system
Catholic Health Australia

26 Feb 2004