Meals on Wheels calls for extra funding

Meals on Wheels Australia has called on the federal government to double funding for meal services across the country. Picture: iStock
Meals on Wheels Australia has called on the federal government to double funding for meal services across the country. Picture: iStock

SUPPORT group Meals on Wheels has called on the federal government to double funding for meal support, describing malnutrition among older Australians as a “silent epidemic”.

On Meals on Wheels day on Wednesday, the organisation has also launched a new recipe book as a valuable reference for meal services across the country.

Meals on Wheels national president Sharyn Broer says extra funding from the commonwealth would make it simpler, fairer and more affordable for older Australians to access meal services.

“This $80 million additional investment means older Australians would pay only for the cost of the ingredients used in their meals, making payments fair and affordable, regardless of which government funding program they are eligible to access or where they live,” Ms Broer said.

The organisation said the government’s current investment in meal services comprised just 3.6 per cent of the $2.4 billion budget of the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Consumer payments for meals were as much as two times the government funding.

It said this was grossly unfair compared to other service types available under the support program and compared to the same services provided in Home Care Packages and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“Increased investment in meal support will reduce demand for more expensive aged care services and relieve pressure on public hospital systems,” Meals on Wheels Australia said.

“Most importantly it will improve the quality of life and confidence of more older people to live independently for longer.”

For more information, visit mealsonwheelswa.org.au.

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