Do you know the politician who referred to news conferences as “feeding the chooks”? Yes, it was Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, former Premier of Queensland (1968-1987), and the longest-serving. Sir Joh had a simple view of the world as a farmer and he took his observations of living life on the land into the Premier’s office. Another saying was “you don’t tell the frogs anything before you drain the swamp” – the element of surprise!
Right now, after the Liberal-National Coalition handed down the 2018 budget there are news conferences happening all over Australia. In not finding the budget news conferences too thought-provoking, I went outside to feed the chooks. It is a good opportunity to deliberate life!
In the 2018 budget there are winners and losers. Older Australians are one of the “so called” winners. When I look at the $1.6b going towards older Australians it will help the most vulnerable, and that must be good. Helping 14,000 people to stay in their homes, a tick here! Then another 74,000 people, if they live another four years, can gain access to a home care package in mid-2022, another tick! More funds into mental health services is a step in the right direction as one of the most vulnerable groups is men over 85 years old, a big tick! Money to improve quality standards in nursing homes is comforting for many, but too late for others, another big tick! Oakden nursing home in Adelaide is one “stand out” example, of the government going to sleep at the wheel.
I was pleased to hear that $60 million will go towards improving the MyAged Care website. I consider myself a savvy website navigator, but when I was using it to gain services for my mother it was clumsy, with little clarity. Finally, I made a phone call!
I am not so pleased to hear about the government loan scheme for older Australians to borrow against the equity in the home. There are hidden dangers in such a scheme – read the fine print! Some older people may not be aware of the pitfalls. Good independent, fee-for-service financial advice, is necessary before going down that path! Older people should not be enticed into using their home equity for that “round the world trip” or to renovate the house just because their neighbour did! If older people live a long life, which is now happening, the government may end up owning their home! Then older people will have to pay rent to the government! Could this happen? Yes, it could. The ageing person will then get a rent subsidy to help or worse be forced to sell their home to pay their debt and get shuffled off to an aged care facility – one small room!
The 2018 budget merry-go-round, is keeping the journalists busy. The politicians, when they can, continue to “feed the chooks”. I find that life is better when I am outside, living a simple life and “feeding the chooks”. Time to put the political promises aside and take control of my small municipality, my backyard garden and chooks!