Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Aged care rules ‘to set off collapses’

This is typical of Leftist thinking. They think they can just pass a law and make something happen that they want to happen. That is rarely so.

The problem is that they do not first do the hard work of undertanding how or why the existing situation exists. It will almost always be the result of several interracting pressures and failing to account for those pressures will cause "unexpected" results.

The sitution discussed below is a simple example of that. We would probably all agreee that nursing homes for the aged would ideally have a large, well-trained staff to give individual attention to each resident when required. And the ALP is trying to make that happen by legislation. But it won't happen

To understand why you need to look at the existing situation, where a small staff of not mostly not very bright people are all that are availble in such homes. And why is that so?

Cost. Employing staff is expensive and the normal way of coping with that is to pay only minimal wages. And the only people who will accept such wages are people who do not have much to offer in the way of skills and abilities

So mandate that staff must be paid more? You can do that but what will be its effect? The care offered by the home will be so expensive that few elderly will be able to afford it. It would cast many frail elderly onto the streeets. You just can't do that.

And the proposal most discussed below is an example of that. A qualified nurse gets wages well above the minimum so where are you going to get the money to pay her? Short of government subsidy you cannot do it. The home could well go broke trying.

So the nurse "shortage" is mainly a shortage of nurses who will acccept nursing home pay. There will be such a shotrage for a long time. The mandate will be unenforceable and will mainly result in a REDUCED availability of nursing home care. Nursing home care will become the preserve of rich families only

It's a devil and the deep blue sea phenomenon. To get assured good care, you have to pay a lot. But not everyone can pay that much so you get the distressingly poor treatment of some residents that we often read about

The chief of the peak nursing professional body says it could take five to 10 years for the sector to ­recruit enough staff to meet ­Anthony Albanese’s target for 24/7 nurses in residential aged care facilities, warning there is “absolutely no way” the industry will meet Labor’s July 1 deadline.

Australian College of Nursing chief executive Kylie Ward also expressed concern that providers would be forced to shut down under the legislated requirement to have at least one registered nurse on site at all times.

The warnings come as the Aged & Community Care Providers Association, the overarching body representing residential, home and community care, said the government needed to ensure the pace of change was manageable for aged care providers and did not “exacerbate an already challenging situation”.

The sector is scrambling to ­implement a suite of reforms including mandated minutes of care per resident, quality and safety standards, and full-time nursing requirements as it adjusts to a new funding model bought in last October as recommended by the Aged Care Royal Commission.

The overhaul comes as financial troubles plague the sector, with the latest figures from the Quarterly Financial Snapshot of the Aged Care Sector revealing 66 per cent of private providers are operating at a loss, with facilities losing an average of $28 per resident each day.

For-profit and not-for-profit providers, which represent 90 per cent of all homes, returned a collective net loss before tax of $465.3m for the September 2022 quarter, off revenues of $5.3bn.

As the sector grapples with a major shortfall of workers and ­a deteriorating financial outlook, a number of aged care facilities have been forced to close their doors. Aged care provider Wesley Mission was the latest facility to close, announcing on Thursday the shutdown of all Sydney homes, citing difficulties in attracting and retaining staff.

The closure, to take effect next month, will displace about 200 residents but the facility said it was committed to ensuring the elderly had other suitable accommodation.

Professor Ward said the aged care sector was facing a shortfall of 10,000 nurses ahead of Labor’s July 1 deadline, and urged the government to invest in attracting overseas-trained nurses to ensure a sustainable supply of workers to help meet targets. She said the college, which had been fighting for facilities to have a registered nurse to be on site for years – had told the government of the projected staffing shortfalls ahead of the deadline.

“There is absolutely no way the sector is going to meet its legislated target by July 1,” Professor Ward said. “We needed a minimum of 10,000 workers before this came into place … where are the nurses coming from?

“If the government doesn’t start looking at developing skilled migration, or a broader approach to developing a new workforce then you’re never going to meet that target.”

Professor Ward said providers were fearful they may have to close their doors if they were unable to meet the legislated targets.

“I can guarantee you they will close. I have spoken to CEOs who are distressed and say they won’t be able to meet the requirement … the modelling of care needs to be considered as we transition to these reforms but we can’t just pluck these people out of thin air,” she said.

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells said the government would not force the closure of facilities that were unable to meet nursing targets and would work with providers to help them meet new standards. Last month, Ms Wells conceded about one in 20 aged care homes would not meet Labor’s July 1 deadline, but said about 80 per cent had already achieved the target.

Ms Wells said the “vast majority” of residential facilities would meet 24/7 nursing requirements and that around the clock nursing was needed to properly care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable. Exemptions would be available for a small number of facilities in regional and remote areas if they were unable to fulfil the requirements.

Opposition aged care spokeswoman Anne Ruston attacked Labor for failing to consider the challenging circumstances the sector faced due to severe ­workforce shortages “in their rush to tick and flick election commitments” after the Prime Minister promised to “fix the crisis in aged care”.

Senator Ruston seized on the closure of Wesley Mission’s homes, arguing residential facilities were not adequately supported during the transitional period.

Sue McLean Bolter, whose 98-year-old mother Moira McLean has been a resident of the Wesley Mission home in Narrabeen since 2019, was first informed of the provider’s closure on Tuesday.

She has been scrambling to find suitable accommodation for her mother, having recently flown in from the US to celebrate Ms McLean’s birthday. So far she has been unsuccessful.

“It’s been very stressful … it’s just been horrible … my sister who lives here has been furious,” Ms McLean Bolter said.

“Had (Wesley) even notified the government that they had been planning to close and why were we given just six weeks ­notice?

“This is the northern beaches where people have their families, doctors and hospitals so to send them over to the other side of Sydney is almost unthinkable. You can’t just drop by to meet your mum, you might have to drive two hours across Sydney in traffic.”

Wesley Mission chief executive Reverend Stu Cameron said Labor’s new national staffing requirements had created challenges for the home as a smaller provider. “The aged care sector is experiencing challenges to workforce and flow-on impacts from the national reforms to aged care,” Reverend Cameron said.

“Wesley Mission supports these once-in-a-generation reforms, improving quality for all care users. It is, however, a challenging environment to be a smaller provider.’

Aged care provider Whiddon chief executive Chris Mamarelis said the Wesley closure was “unsurprising” given the financial pressures many providers were under and forecast more failures.


Challenging Covid’s tyranny came at a heavy personal price

Adam Creighton

Three years ago this month my life was turned upside down when I suggested in this column we might be overreacting to Covid-19.

The column triggered a torrent of hate mail that lasted well over a year, and I began to receive persistent and violent threats. I was forced to change my name on social media accounts and my parents became seriously worried for my safety. Some of the attacks were so awful, I considered taking legal action.

It was less than a month after England’s chief health officer, Chris Whitty, explained at a press conference that Covid-19 was not a particularly lethal virus, many wouldn’t get it, and of those who did the vast bulk wouldn’t know they had it, or suffer only a “mild to moderate” illness at worse.

Those facts never changed, but it was too late. By mid-April, our ostensibly civil and rational society had lost its mind, consumed by an insidious culture of consent.

All that mattered was stopping the virus – which most of us ended up getting at least once – and to hell with the human rights, social and economic costs, or earlier pandemic plans.

“Perhaps a hysteria has gripped the nation … the hankering for total lockdown was being cheered on largely by those who would be relatively unaffected by it … the costs will be profound,” I wrote, in what was the first of many criticisms that followed.

But I couldn’t have imagined back then just how damning the data would become, as a new book by Toby Green and Thomas Fazi, The Covid Consensus, now makes clear.

The benefits of our authoritarian response proved so meagre, the costs so enormous – including the inflation we’re still enduring – the last few years must qualify as the biggest public policy disaster outside of wartime.

Australian governments sprayed the best part of half a trillion dollars of public funds against the wall; not to mention the disruption they caused to ordinary lives in the community.

According to OECD data, we ended up with around the same or even a greater number of excess deaths over the last three years as Sweden, a country that was relentlessly attacked for allowing its people to maintain normal lives, with a similar rate of urbanisation and development to Australia.

“I thought Sweden would have higher excess mortality but less economic and social damage, but it had a lower mortality as well,” noted British science writer Matt Ridley last month, after it became clear no matter how the statistics were cut, Sweden emerged with relatively few excess deaths; indeed fewer, or around the same, as Australia.

“Quite astounding: Sweden took a lot of flak for its Covid-19 policies but actually it has done best in Europe,” added Danish environmental analyst Bjorn Lomborg.

On some measures, Sweden did better than any other developed nation on excess deaths. If there is a greater humiliation of experts in modern history, I’m yet to hear it.

The same was true in some parts of the US, which for political and constitutional reasons, managed to resist the zeitgeist, recording the same, or fewer deaths than other jurisdictions, without the destructive madness.

Historians will not look back at the figures of how many died from or with Covid-19. Instead they will look at excess deaths, the number of deaths compared to what might have been expected.

But the coup de grace must belong to China, whose policies in Wuhan inspired many governments to junk their pandemic plans, which had previously emphasised keeping calm and running societies as normally as possible.

In 2020, China’s response was widely praised, based on the CCP’s own dubious Covid-19 figures. But the country’s lockdowns spectacularly failed to contain the virus, and appeared to make little difference when they were ultimately lifted – to the disappointment of those desperate to keep the flame of authoritarianism alive.

Liberal democracies failed miserably during the pandemic, as our institutions, media, academia and bureaucracies careened into hysteria and authoritarianism, trashing human rights and traditional medical ethics over a virus that our grandparents would’ve barely noticed.

You can only imagine what a slightly more lethal virus would have done. As a society we are far less rational and free than we claim.

The gap between our civilisation and China’s has shrunk markedly, too, as government institutions worked hand-in-hand in the US (of all places) with social media companies to suppress dissent and bolster the “the science”, which turned out to be wrong on almost everything. The pandemic response in Australia and elsewhere was a harbinger of a totalitarian future that surely none of us want to encourage.

In my view, those deserving the greatest contempt are the tenured academics and senior public servants who, unless they were mentally deficient, must have known from a very early stage in the pandemic that “the measures” were failing, but continued to cheer them on anyway.

Only an honest evaluation of the gigantic errors of the past can steel us against a repeat of such extremism.

It is fitting, then, to quote the 17th-century Swedish statesman, Axel Oxenstierna, who once commented: “Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?”

If we didn’t know then, we certainly do now.


Indian students banned or limited as Australian unis crack down on bogus applicants

At least five Australian universities have introduced bans or restrictions on students from specific Indian states in response to a surge of applications from South Asia and an accompanying rise in what the Home Affairs Department described as fraudulent applications.

An investigation by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald has obtained emails from within Victoria University, Edith Cowan University, the University of Wollongong, Torrens University, and agents working for Southern Cross University that show the crackdown on applications from Indian students.

Australia is on track for its biggest-ever annual intake of Indian students, topping 2019’s high watermark of 75,000. But the current surge has prompted concerns from government MPs and the education sector about the integrity of Australia’s immigration system and the long-term impact on the nation’s lucrative international education market.

“The volume of students arriving has come back a lot stronger than anyone was expecting,” said Jon Chew from global education firm Navitas. “We knew there would be a lot of pent-up demand, but there has also been a surge in non-genuine students.”

With many applications deemed by universities not to meet Australian visa requirements that they be a “genuine temporary entrant” coming solely for education, universities are putting restrictions in place to pre-empt their “risk rating” being downgraded.

The Home Affairs Department keeps a confidential rating of each country, with each university and college also ranked. Students from countries with higher risk ratings are required to provide more evidence that proves they will not overstay their visa, not work more hours than allowed under their visa, and not use fraudulent material in their application.

Those universities that have restricted access to some Indian states are concerned Home Affairs will reduce their ability to fast-track student visas because of the number of applicants who are actually seeking to work – not study – in Australia.

“In an effort to strengthen the profile of students from areas where we have seen increased visa risks, VU will implement a higher level of requirements in some areas in India,” the university’s regional recruitment manager Alex Hanlon wrote to education agents. A university spokeswoman said these additional requirements included “assessing gaps in applicants’ study history to determine if they are suitably qualified and prepared for international study in Australia and can support themselves adequately”.

Those restrictions came just days after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited India, in part to celebrate Australia’s education links and announce a new agreement with Australia’s universities and colleges that would, he said, herald “the most comprehensive and ambitious arrangement agreed to by India with any country”. Crucially, the agreement included a “mutual recognition of qualifications between Australia and India”, which will make travelling to either country for university study easier.

The deluge of applications from south Asia began after the Morrison government, in January 2022, removed a 20-hour per week limit on the amount of work students can do – meaning there were no longer any restrictions on how many hours students could work. The move encouraged those wanting a low-skill Australian work visas to apply to cheaper education institutions. The Albanese government will on July 1 reintroduce this work limit, but lift it to 24 hours a week.

The Age and the Herald has confirmed with five universities, or in one case agents working on a university’s behalf, that they have put restrictions on students wanting to come to Australia from India. Another list seen by The Age and the Herald and authored by one Australian education agency, showed 12 universities and colleges had put in restrictions. The agency asked not to be named for fear it would damage its relationship with education providers.

It is not just universities that are grappling with a surge in applications from people seeking to work in Australia and gain permanent residency – rather than studying – in Australia. The vocational education sector is also seeing a surge in applications from students ultimately judged to be too risky to accept.

Under the process for getting a student visa, education providers accept applicants who are then assessed by Home Affairs. In February, Home Affairs rejected an unprecedented 94 per cent of offshore applicants from India to study in Australia’s vocational sector. It compared to less than 1 per cent of student applications from countries including the United States, the United Kingdom and France. In 2006, when Home Affairs started publishing records of this nature, 91 per cent of applicants from India were accepted.

The international students pouring back into Australia fuel an overseas education industry worth about $40 billion annually, trailing only iron ore, coal and natural gas as an export.

The University of Sydney took $1.4 billion of revenue in 2021 from fee-paying overseas students, Monash University collected $917 million in tuition fees while the University of Queensland got $644 million, federal education department figures show.

“Many universities, like Monash, Melbourne, Sydney and the University of New South Wales, already receive more revenue from international students than from domestic students,” said Peter Hurley, director of Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute. “International education is an incredibly valuable resource. It is really important that we manage it properly so that it works in everyone’s interests, especially international students.”

Hurley said international students provided both students for the nation’s higher education sector, and workers for Australia’s booming jobs market. “We need this workforce,” Hurley said. No Australian university could now function without international education revenue, he said, noting international students provide some institutions with three times as much in tuition fees as a domestic student.

Education agent Ravi Singh said too many of Australia’s training colleges had become “visa factories” interested in offering immigration pathways, not an education.


One Nation senator likens the Aboriginal Voice to 'apartheid'

Both privileged a particular race

A One Nation senator has come under fire after comparing the Indigenous Voice to Parliament to South Africa's Apartheid.

He had been responding to a tweet made by 'Australiana' podcast host Will Kingston who had slammed the Voice to Parliament.

'Australia, a modern western democracy, is considering a proposal that would require racial tests to determine suitability for a representative body,' he wrote.

Senator Roberts threw his support behind it comparing it to racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to the early 1990s. 'Nailed it. The Voice is apartheid,' he wrote.

His comment comes as debate continues to rage around the referendum with groups opposing the Voice revealing how their 'No' campaign will differ greatly to the 'Yes' campaign.

Apartheid was the white-dictated system of legal separation of the races that prevailed in South Africa for almost 50 years after World War II.

His comment comes less than a year after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson claimed it would the Voice would be 'Australia's version of apartheid' in an extraordinary speech to the Senate in August 2022.

'The risk is very real that the sovereignty that all Australians have over their land and country will be handed to a racial minority,' she said.

'Why does this have to be in the constitution? What is the real ulterior motive? This can only be about power - creating a nation within a nation.

'This can only be about taking power from whitefellas and giving it to blackfellas. This is Australia's version of apartheid.'

Meanwhile groups opposing the Voice say they are countering the star and corporate power of the 'yes' campaign by mobilising 'ordinary Australians'.

Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, one of the most outspoken critics of the proposed Voice, says that unlike the 'yes' campaign the case against will be 'driven by everyday Australians'.

'We represent the quiet Aboriginal Australians who don't feel like they're being heard in this debate,' she said.

Warren Mundine, a former president of the Australian Labor Party turned Liberal candidate, told Sky News that Indigenous communities had not been consulted on the Voice and had little understanding of it.

Mr Mundine has previously accused the Voice of being dreamed up by the 'elites in academia.'

Sometime between October and December this year Australians will be asked by referendum to approve the establishment of the Voice as a recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Constitution.

A referendum can only be carried when it is approved by an overall majority of Australians and also is voted for by a majority of states.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


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