Auditor-General: Palliative Care

Written on the 5 May 2015

15 April 2015
Statements on reports and papers 

GEORGIE CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)


I am pleased to speak to the Victorian Auditor-General's very good report entitled Palliative Care, which was tabled in the house today. I place on the record my acknowledgement of the work the Auditor-General has done in this very important area. We have just debated a motion which deals with the sensitive issues of euthanasia and end of life, so we know that palliative services are an extremely important element in providing support and care for those who are nearing the end of their lives.

I again place on the record some of the work of Palliative Care Victoria, which has done some tremendous work in supporting a whole range of people in very difficult circumstances. In particular I refer to Odette Waanders, the CEO of Palliative Care Victoria, and others who support the work done by that organisation.

The report contains a range of findings. One very pleasing aspect is that the Auditor-General points out is that Victoria is a leader in palliative care provision in Australia, and that the Department of Health and Human Services has set a clear and ambitious agenda for the palliative care sector. I hope this government will provide the support that the previous government did, because we have an ageing and a growing population and more palliative care services are going to be required into the future. I think there is some reference to that in the report.

In 2013 the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted an analysis of population trends which showed that, as we know, the Australian population is ageing and growing. It predicts that 19 per cent of the population will be aged over 65 by 2033. The report states:

in Victoria the median age of the population will increase significantly over the next 40 years in 2012, the median age was 37.3 years and the

ABS forecasts that it will increase to 42.4 years by 2061.

As the report points out, this is going to put greater demands on palliative care services, and we need to be doing more in respect of providing those services.

Mr Davis is in the house. I commend him for the support that he gave Palliative Care Victoria when he was Minister for Health and for putting significant funds into supporting Palliative Care Victoria and those Victorians who require palliative care services their during end-of-life stages.

In 2011 some $34.4 million was put into Palliative Care Victoria and into services. In particular I note Very Special Kids, which is based in the electorate that both Mr Davis and I represent. It is an extraordinary organisation that looks after terminally ill children and their families. It does an extraordinary job in dealing with the day-to-day issues that surround children who are dying and in providing respite for their families and carers. It is a wonderful organisation, and I urge members to give it ongoing support.

Equally, we need to continue providing significant services in rural Victoria, which often does not have the same facilities that metropolitan Melbourne and larger regional cities have, and we need to be mindful of that. The report points out some of the issues from regional Victoria, such as the requirements of carers needing greater attention and those financial costs that they sometimes incur when looking after their loved ones in their final stages of life. The report goes on to make 12 very good recommendations which highlight the greater demand in this area. I again put on the record my acknowledgement of the work of the Auditor-General, and I commend his report.

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