維州工黨在2014年競選承諾, 設立多元文化長者護理計劃, 由政府買地, 長期租給少數族裔社區服務組織, 協助成立以他們語言提供的長者護理服務。當時工黨承諾興建一所有90張床位的華人長者護理院。2018年的維州選舉, 工黨提出再興建另外一所90張床位的華人長者護理院。這兩次選舉中, 維州工黨承諾為墨爾本華人社區提供一共180張華人長者護理床位。
按2021 年人口調查, 墨爾本巿區有 20828名年齡在70歲以上, 在家中說中文的長者。按聯邦政府每千名70歲以上長者需要69.1張護理床位計算, 墨爾本需要1400張提供給說中文的長者護理床位服務, 實際上我們只有三間以中文提供服務的護理設施, 有不到200張這樣的床位。可以見到工黨提出的承諾, 確實能為華人長者的護理需要, 提供急需的服務。
可惜的是, 直到今天, 工黨政府沒有兌現過這些競選承諾, 把兩幅已購買了的土地, 提供給華人社區組織, 進行興建長者護理設施。我擔任主席的歡欣機構, 有申請興建其中在Templestowe Lower的護理設施。政府原定要在去年9月公佈由哪一個機構承租興建, 不過工黨政府一直拖延決定。去年大選前我曾多次質詢安德魯斯州長, 要求政府立刻兌現2018年的競選承諾,作出批地合約決定。
在今年3月初有關官員, 通知了申請結果。有關官員以「為協助華人機構能更方便籌募興建經費」為藉口, 要求修改批地條件, 並重新啟動申辦過程。 我即時表達了這為不合理的決定, 因為整個計劃會因為重新招標而延遲兩年時間。這延遲會令建築費增加24% (平均每年增加12%), 即承辦機構要多籌募7百萬元, 令推展這計劃的機構更加困難。更嚴重的是, 90名長者要多等待兩年, 才能取得相關服務。
其後, 我向多名維州議員及聯邦議員尋求協助, 聯邦議員們都對盡快興建這所華人長者護理設施表示支持。但在7月7日我再與維州有關官員商談長者護理部長的決定時, 部長仍維持重新招標的決定。
我相信今天是時候, 墨爾本的華人要向政府表示我們的意願。本刊會發起簽名運動, 要求維州州長推翻長者護理部長收回重新為Templestowe Lower華人長者護理設施再招標的決定。我們會收集簽名,向州長安德魯斯請願, 並希望維州政府能正視華人社區的需要, 信守過去作出的競選承諾, 不要繼續拖延支持興建華人長者護理設施。
盼望各位讀者及華人社區, 都能簽名支持, 向維州政府反映我們的意願。
Victorian government must honour election promise, immediately lease out the land to build aged care facilities for Chinese
Victorian Labor had promised to buy land in 2014 and 2018 to facilitate the building of 180 beds for Chinese seniors, until now the promise is not yet honoured.
In the 2014 election the Labor Party committed to a Multicultural Aged Care Program to build aged care facilities for the multicultural communities. With land leased by the government, these facilities operated in their own language would be built by ethnic community services organizations. A 90-bed aged care home was said to be planned for Chinese. In the 2018 election the Labor Party promised another 90-bed building. That’s a total of 180 beds for Chinese.
According to the 2021 Census, in Melbourne there were 20828 elderly over 70 who spoke Chinese at home. On the federal government’s basis that every 1000 elderly over 70 should be provided with 69.1 beds, we should need 1400 beds in Melbourne but now we only got three Chinese speaking facilities with less than 200 beds! So Labor government’s promise is really imminent to come true.
It’s a pity that they have not fulfill their promises in releasing the two pieces of purchased land for this purpose. As chairman of the Rejoice community organisation I have apply for one planned in the Templestowe Lower area. The government scheduled to assign the piece of land in September last year to selected organization to take up the project, but nothing came through. Before last election I had queried Primer Daniel Andrews why he was not acting on his 2018 election pledge.
Upon our persistent enquiries, the government informed us in March this year. On the ground “to support the contracted body to raise the project fund”, they made adjustment to the lease conditions and would relaunch the application process in six months. I raised strong objection on the decision which could mean a delay of another two years. The delay could cause an 24% increase in the building cost (12% annual on average) meaning an additional 7 million burden on the contracted body. More importantly 90 elderly would have to wait for another two years.
I then sought assistance from several state and federal parliamentary members. Despite the strong support indicated from the federal representatives, at my meeting with the advisor of the Minister of Disability, Ageing and Carers and departmental director on 7 July, they still insisted on the re-launch of EOI decision.
Today we Victorian Chinese must speak out. Sameway will launch a signing petition to the Premier Daniel Andrews for reverting the decision of Minister of Disablity, Ageing and Carers on a relaunch of the EOI of Templestowe Lower’s aged care home project. Through this campaign, we want the Victorian government to address seriously our need in the Chinese community and to keep their previous promises in building the Chinese aged care facility.
I hope all readers and the whole Chinese community would sign in to support our demand on the Victorian government.
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher