Our seniors snubbed in new care package

TWEED'S elderly residents have been short-changed in a federal government announcement of new aged care places for the NSW North Coast.

That's according to Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot who yesterday slammed the announcement which appears to look after National Party-held seats surrounding Lismore and Grafton despite the high proportion of elderly people around Tweed Heads.

It prompted a new vow from Ms Elliot to keep up the fight for better local aged care services.

National Party senator Sandy Macdonald made the announcement which included an extra 255 aged care places across the Far North Coast aged care planning region for 2005-06.

But those included:

150 residential places for Lismore, Maclean and Pristine Waters;

70 places across the region through the Community Aged Care Packages:

25 places through the Extended Aged Care at Home package:

just 10 dementia specific packages.

The announcement led Ms Elliot to declare: "Our local aged care system is in crisis and the Federal Government has done nothing to address the problem."

"I am particularly disappointed that there will be no new nursing beds for Richmond - despite the blow-out in local waiting lists."

"These places won't even make a dent in the problems we face locally - they service an area stretching from Grafton to the border," she added.

"It's a step forward, but I doubt they will go any way towards reducing the seven-month waiting list for home care."

Ms Elliot said she would be happy to introduce Senator Macdonald to any of the local people on waiting lists for nursing home beds or home care.

"This announcement is all spin and no substance," she added.

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