Productivity Commission releases “Throw The Oldies To The Wolves” report

The Productivity Report says the aged will not be forced to sell their homes to pay for care... just take out loans. Who are they fooling?

As the cost of aged care in Australia rises $11 billion a year to $69.4 billion in 2050, the report says there is no option but to make aged care more “user pays”, privatised and deregulated.  It calculates on us being terrified by the big numbers. But think about a few other big numbers: the Commonwealth Bank’s recently announced 12% rise in cash profit to $6.84 billion, the $255 billion in pre-tax profits made by the mining companies in Australia since 2004-5, the $2.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) that has been shifted from wages to profits across Australia since 1974-75. The report says the aged will not be forced to sell their homes to pay for care… just take out loans.  But who are they fooling?

The “free market” fanatics at the Productivity Commission have done their dirty job once again in their newly released Caring For Older Australian report. It would be more honestly titled Throw The Oldies To The Wolves report and it follows vicious cuts to disabilities pensions.

The outraged response of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association summed up the report’s main agenda:

“This report abandons aged care as a community service and replaces it with a user pays system funded by flogging the family home.

“Whether, as an older Australian, you will need aged care and how much comes down to luck of the draw and it should not cost the family home to pay for it.”

Given the corporate profits first politics of the Labor federal government and the Liberal-National opposition, barring the strongest community opposition, aged care will soon cease to be a community service. It will die the death of a thousand cuts just like public education, public health, public transport and other critical public services that underpin a good society.

But what else can we expect from the “Productivity Commission”? It is a government-funded neoliberal institution dedicated to depriving the majority from enjoying the tremendous social gains that should flow from the many advances in science and technology – just as as the “Ministry for Truth” in George Orwell’s 1984 was dedicated to lying to the public.

They have seasoned con artists at the Productivity Commission. Their job is to set the corporate profits first agenda of governments, Labor or Liberal-National, and sell it with loads of lies. Basically, in every report they produce they argue that the introduction of more “user pays”, deregulation and privatisation is the only option. They pretend that their arguments are not political or ideological but they are.

The Productivity Commission report argues that over one million older Australians receive aged care services today but by 2050, this number is expected to rise to 3.5 million. The cost of this care to the government, it says, will rise from $11 billion a year to $69.4 billion. They argue that there is no option but to make aged care more “user pays”, privatised and deregulated. The report says the aged will not be forced to sell their homes to pay for care… just take out loans. Who are they fooling?

The report calculates on us being terrified by the big numbers. But think about a few other big numbers. Think about the Commonwealth Bank’s recently announced 12% rise in cash profit to $6.84 billion. And this is just the first of the four big banks that dominate Australia to announce their whole year profit figures. Think about the $255 billion in pre-tax profits made by the mining companies in Australia since 2004-5. Think about the $2.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) that, we can calculate from Australian Bureau of Statistics data, has been shifted from wages to profits across Australia since 1974-75.

The money is there but the Productivity Commission is out to make sure that more of it it goes to making the filthy richer even richer – whatever the human cost.

The Productivity Commission core ethos is the idea at the heart of former British PM Margaret Thatcher’s infamous 1987 statement in an interview with Woman’s Own magazine that “no such thing as society”.

“I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!’… and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women…”

The images of London burning that have flooded the news are a stark reminder of the impact of this “no such thing as society” mentality.

Out there in the so-called “mainstream media” this rampant this corporate profit-first ideology is identified for what it really is. A generation of shackled or brainwashed journalists are naively helping spread the destruction of society and environment. But not here in Green Left Weekly.

However we can only keep telling the truth with your help.

Please make a contribution this week to the Green Left Fighting Fund. Donate online today. Or direct deposits can be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone in a donation through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).

One Comment to “Productivity Commission releases “Throw The Oldies To The Wolves” report”

  1. A very interesting response to the Productivity Commission report on ageing, with an intriguing item at the beginning in a quote paragraph about the obscene profits of the Commonwealth Bank.
    Accepted some very good points made in the article until I came to the last paragraph asking for donations to Green Left to be made through – yes, you guessed correctly – the Commonwealth Bank!!!
    What on earth is Green Left doing supporting the Commonwealth Bank when there are several alternatives?
    Is this a case of one capitalist organisation supporting another?? One that doesn’t need support from Green Left!

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