Closing the gap and aged care reform will be on the agenda when Lisa Chesters MP welcomes the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Ageing, Shayne Neumann MP, to Bendigo.
Mr Neumann’s visit is part of a national listening tour that has taken him - in his role as Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs - to the top end, Alice Springs and Redfern, before coming to Bendigo.
“The Abbott Government savagely cut more than $500 million from Indigenous programs in the last Budget, leaving many to face ongoing financial insecurity and closure.
“On his way to Bendigo, Mr Neumann has visited communities and services across Australia to hear their concerns but also to see first-hand some of the positive steps being taken towards Closing the Gap.
“The fact Bendigo features on Mr Neumann’s itinerary is a positive reflection of the great work happening in this region. We are lucky to have high quality programs here in Bendigo which have a lasting and positive impact by creating genuine opportunities for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” said Ms Chesters.
Ms Chesters said the visit would include lunch with the leadership team at the Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-operative and a meeting with the region’s Koori Education Workforce coordinator.
As the Shadow Minister for Ageing, Mr Neumann will also get the opportunity to meet aged care providers from the region at a forum at Bendigo library to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the sector in light of imminent reforms.
Mr Neumann welcomed Ms Chesters’ strong advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Bendigo.
“The Abbott Government must guarantee no further cuts to Indigenous Affairs and Aged Care,” Mr Neumann said.
“The previous Labor Government did the heavy lifting in terms of aged care reform, making the tough decisions that are helping keep aged care sustainable into the future.
“Labor’s reforms are at risk from further cuts from the Abbott Government. It’s not fair to expect older Australians to pay even more for aged care at this time.”
Ms Chesters said the Abbott Government’s brutal cuts to Indigenous and aged care services and programs have made people in Bendigo insecure and frightened about what this next budget has in store.
“Labor is passionate about safeguarding the welfare of the most vulnerable Australians. This visit by the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Ageing, Shayne Neumann, will give groups here in Bendigo the chance to share their thoughts with their strongest advocate in the Australian Parliament,” said Ms Chesters.