Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hit back at suggestions that COVID-19’s impact on the aged care sector shows a “gross failure of governance”.
At a press conference today the PM faced tough questions from reporters after this week’s Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hearings pointed to handling failures by the Federal Government.
“The Royal Commission has not found what you’ve just said,” he told a reporter.
“That is not a royal commission finding,” he said.
“That is a statement that has been made by the Counsel Assisting. So that is not a finding of the royal commission.”
Mr Morrison said, however, he was “deeply sorry” for mistakes made during the pandemic.
“On the days that the system falls short, on the days that expectations are not met, I’m deeply sorry about that, of course I am,” he said.
“And I know that everyone who is involved in the process who is trying to meet those expectations is equally sorry.”
He said there was not “some special force field” around aged care facilities during such an unprecedented global health crisis.
“COVID-19 broke out in Melbourne. It has got into meat packing plants, it has got into pharmacies, it has got into distribution centres. It has got into hospitals. It has got into aged-care facilities,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that while the death toll continued to be devastating, most aged care facilities in Melbourne had not been directly affected by coronavirus.
“There are more than 350 aged-care facilities in Melbourne. We have been dealing with acute responses in about half a dozen,” he said.
“There are many more facilities that actually have COVID cases, but the overwhelming majority, almost entirely, of those cases, of those facilities, are managing.”