Bundoora Aged-Care Facilities

Mr BROOKS (Bundoora) — Members would recall the shocking revelations of nearly two years ago that the then Liberal-Nationals government had plans to sell off 1000 aged-care beds across Melbourne. The Napthine government planned to rip a total of $75 million from public sector residential aged care, with $25 million having been axed this financial year and a further $50 million budgeted to be cut in 2015–16.

Under the former government public sector aged-care facilities were being shut down. Facilities in Ballarat, Castlemaine, Flemington, Kyneton, Kororoit, Melbourne, Melton South and Williamstown were closed. Rosebud Residential Aged Care Services was sold off. A total of 410 public sector aged-care beds were closed under the last government, and more closures were on the way. On the hit list were facilities such as the Merv Irvine and Ian Brand nursing homes, both situated in my electorate.

As I have said in this chamber before, the Merv Irvine Nursing Home plays a specialist role in caring for residents who have psychogeriatric conditions, such as people with severe dementia. Families and loved ones of those in the care of these nursing homes contacted me, extremely troubled about the possibility of these facilities being sold off. They decided to take on the government and became vocal in the campaign to halt the process of privatisation.

I would like to pay tribute to these people and in particular to Jenny Mikakos, a member for Northern Metropolitan Region in the other place, for their vital work in exposing the previous government’s plans. I was delighted to meet again with these people in the past few days to pass on the good news that the Andrews Labor government has officially abandoned the former government’s plans to sell off these facilities. The news was met with a real sense of relief by these people, who rely on these services.