Federal Government Aged Care Budget Announcement
- Created on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 11:00
Australia's aged-care system is on the pathway to transformation but more funding is still needed, Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell said in response to a record federal government package.
In this week’s Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced a $17.7 billion package over five years for aged care support and reform that is desperately needed to address the quality, safety, funding and sustainability challenges the sector currently faces.
“The commitment of additional support for older people who need the aged care sector confirms that the government recognises the importance of investing in older Australians, and whilst it alone is not enough, about half what was recommended to the Government, it is certainly a significant step forward.”
“We previously were referred to as one of the best aged care systems in the world, but
successive cuts to per person funding levels over recent years, and 20 reports mostly ignored by all governments over 20 years, has led to poor staffing levels and deep deficits for most providers struggling to deliver high quality care.”
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has made 148 recommendations that the Government has now responded to. “These recommendations will transform the aged care services that our oldest Australians receive and where more than 500,000 staff work in to become once again the world’s best, if they are implemented.” Mark said.
Several significant measures were announced and the reform was started with a sizable first step focussed on reducing home care waiting lists, keeping struggling providers viable, minimum care staffing levels, new aged care training places and transparent service accountability.
A summary of the notable measures announced by the Federal Government include:
- $6.5B on 80,000 new home care packages for people living at home to shorten the current 120,000 waiting list, taking the total to 275,000 packages
- An additional payment of $10 per resident per day to enhance the viability and sustainability of the struggling residential aged care sector
- 34,000 new training places so new and exisiting care staff can attain new qualification levels
- $600m for Indigenous special funded places and Indigenous workers to enter the aged care sector
- Special retention bonuses to be paid to nurses to keep and attract nurses to aged care.
Whilst there is no commitment in the package to fund increased wages, the Government has committed to introduce an Independent Pricing Commission to assess the real cost of providing quality care, such as increased wages and other cost movements that providers have had to absorb.
Mark said, “Frontline staff deserve wages uplift too after they’ve held together the system through their sheer determination and wonderful gentle care. They are the salt of the earth and their unions will rightly be looking for funded wage parity with disability and health staff in the next year.”
Warrigal is pleased the very difficult Royal Commission period has now ended, and with the Government response, they are hopeful to move into a new, and more positive reform and improvement era.
“Now that the funding level is back to a good base and services can re-establish quality care and reasonable staffing levels for residents, we are excited to see what’s coming next in the lead up to the election and future budgets that will truly enable our oldest Australians to be well served for the rest of their lives.”
Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations Manager | M +61 (4) 3665 5808