The Napthine Government’s move to privatise aged care facilities could mean the selling off of South Stone Lodge in Werribee, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said today.

The Napthine Government’s State Budget Update released late last year outlined a reduction of $75 million from public sector aged care.

Mr Andrews toured the facility with Member for Tarneit Tim Pallas and Shadow Ageing Minister Jenny Mikakos.

“The residents at South Stone Lodge and their families have been left in the dark by Mr Napthine, who hasn’t been upfront with them about whether their bed will be sold off,” Mr Andrews said.

“Mr Napthine should have the courage to come to Werribee and explain his decision to sell off aged care beds and what that will mean for seniors in this local area.

“Does the planned selloff include South Stone Lodge, and will he guarantee that people can find an affordable place in a private aged care facility in Werribee now and into the future?

“What is driving the decision to sell off aged care facilities is the desire to reduce staff costs.

“The public sector facilities have nurse/patient ratios to ensure quality care – ratios which do not exist in the private sector. In fact, the private sector often have non-qualified workers in the place of nurses.”

Mr Pallas said the Government was hiding from discussing the issue at the same time pushing ahead with the selloff.

“The tender documents to begin the state-wide selloff are on the Government’s website and already several facilities across Victoria have been closed or sold,” he said

“The privatisation has already begun with Rosebud Residential Aged Care Services quietly sold off late last year, and facilities have closed in Ballarat, Koroit, Melbourne, Williamstown, Castlemaine and Kyneton.

“Under the Coalition, the Public Residential Aged Care Sector has shrunk by 284 beds – despite Victoria’s ageing population.

“I am very concerned that South Stone Lodge will be next. That is why we are launching a petition to persuade the Napthine Government not to sell off South Stone Lodge.

“We simply can’t allow Mr Napthine to sell off the care of our seniors to the highest bidder.”