I am angered and deeply saddened by the events that occurred at Earle Haven Retirement Village last week. You should not have been put in a situation where you were left without the care you so rightfully deserve and forced to leave your home.
My main concern over this past week has been for you and your loved ones. It’s early days in our investigation, but I understand that there was a breakdown in a relationship between your service provider and their subcontractor. Regardless of what issue was going on behind the scenes it should have not had any impact on care to you or your loved ones – decency and humanity should have prevailed.
I recognise the good work by the staff from Queensland Health and the Commonwealth Department of Health. Both responded urgently to the situation and worked through the night to safely relocate you all and to get in touch with your families. I want to thank those who recognised the urgency of this situation and escalated it to emergency services.
This should never have happened. Under my watch as the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, I will do what I can to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of event.
I have commissioned a full inquiry into the circumstances leading up to the collapse in provision of aged care services at the Earle Haven Retirement Village. I’ve asked your local member Angie Bell MP to be my representative at this meeting to announce the start and terms of this inquiry so that you hear about it first, rather than through the media. Angie knows your community well and has been representing you to me and her Federal colleagues to ensure this issue gains the response it warrants.
You, your health, wellbeing and safety is what is most important to the Australian Government. I want the inquiry to examine the impact and consequences of the event on the safety and wellbeing of you all. The inquiry will be led by Ms Kate Carnell AO who has experience across a broad range of policy areas and a deep knowledge of the aged care system. Ms Carnell has led other reviews into governance, management, contractual and financial management and is well qualified to do this job.
I recognise that this situation is unheard of and that it has affected not only you and your families but the whole community and the aged care industry. I am heartened by and thankful for the outpouring of support from other aged care providers that have offered their assistance during this time. In particular, I would like to recognise the contributions and good work of all the services you have been moved to.
I want to reiterate that it is entirely your choice about where you stay permanently and staff from the department will support you and your families as you make your decisions.
I am determined to ensure that you and I fully understand why this situation occurred and that those responsible are held to account. I will ensure that you are updated following Ms Carnell’s investigations.