The federal government claims repeatedly that a consumer-driven, free market-based residential aged care system will provide world-class care. This is consistent with its neoliberal agenda. However, the so-called “consumers” are often frail, elderly people, many with dementia. How can they demand a high-quality service on the free market?
The irony of the move towards a free-market aged care system is that private companies continue to put out their hands for more government money – without any transparency about how they spend it. Do they spend the government subsidy on providing nursing care, meals and activities for residents or on salaries for their executive team and profits for shareholders?