State attacked over aged care

A Labor-only parliamentary committee has attacked the State Government for its lack of planning for 2021 when more than a fifth of WA's ageing population will be older than 60.

In a report tabled yesterday into whether WA is prepared for an ageing population, community development and justice committee chairwoman Margaret Quirk warned of a "level of denial" about the impact it would have.

After looking at whether the Government's seniors strategic planning framework was guiding policy, the committee concluded no agency had responsibility for it. The report said there was little inter-agency action to implement it, few or no resources allocated to it and no leadership.

Other findings were that Aboriginals in WA were five times more likely to develop dementia and insecurity of tenure, and an undersupply of social housing for seniors was leading to increasing homelessness.

It cautioned that an "acute shortfall" in suitably located and accredited aged-care accommodation was "not going to go away by engaging in brinkmanship with the Federal Government".

The report recommends a minister for ageing be appointed and models for a formal co-ordinated approach between departments to policies be investigated.

Ms Quirk said it was not acknowledged that WA's ageing population posed major economic and social shifts.

It was inevitable that if issues were not addressed, individuals, families and the whole community would feel the impact.

The committee has just three Labor MPs after its two Liberals resigned in August over its report into Troy Buswell's car crashes, claiming it was biased.

Council on the Ageing WA chief executive Ken Marston said a co-ordinated approach was needed and the Government's framework was weak.

"We need a plan for an ageing population and we haven't got it," Mr Marston said.

Seniors Minister Tony Simpson said all agencies could use the Government's seniors framework to plan for the ageing population but the Government would review the report.

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