Member for Page Ms Janelle Saffin today announced zero real interest loans worth more than $5.9 million providing an additional 33 nursing home beds and 20 community care packages in the local community.

The loans will go to The Cedars Nursing Home in Casino, Kyogle Court and St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Lismore.

The funding is part of the first stage of the Australian Government’s election commitment to provide $300 million in zero real interest loans to create 2500 aged care places in areas designated as high need across the country.

Ms Saffin said caring for our ageing population is one of the major challenges facing our nation this century, and is of particular importance in Page where we have a higher than average  percentage of older Australians.

“While nationally around 13 per cent of the population is aged 65 years or older, in Page that age group makes up 18 per cent of the population,” she said.

“And the number of people over 65 is expected to triple in the next 40 years, so we are facing a growing need for aged care services.

“This program of zero interest loans is about providing nursing home beds and community care packages for frail and older Australians in areas like ours where incentives such as interest-free loans are needed to boost aged care services.”
       
Federal Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot said that over the next four years, the Australian Government is investing more than $40 billion — $28.6 billion of that on nursing homes alone.

“The Rudd Government is preparing for the challenges of the 21st century and responding to the needs of Australia’s ageing population,” she said.

The applications for these loans were assessed independently by the Department of Health and Ageing, which worked closely with a probity adviser on the assessment and negotiation process.

The loans were an election commitment and the Government has pledged to cover the cost of the interest on these loans.