Thursday, 13 September 2018

$106 million boost to support older Australians with better care

The Morrison Government will significantly boost support for older Australians with an injection of $106 million to support better facilities, better care and better standards in aged care.

The Morrison Government will significantly boost support for older Australians with an injection of $106 million to support better facilities, better care and better standards in aged care.

Australia’s tough new aged care cop – the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission – will receive a further $16 million to police quality, boost specialist response teams for complaints, audits and compliance and support consumers when failures occur.

And we are taking action to introduce legislation into Parliament to establish the new Commission to address known failures in quality regulation for Australia’s aged care system.

Older Australians deserve our respect and they should receive the very best care available.

The Morrison Government is committed to keeping Australians safe and this includes as they age.

The overwhelming majority of aged care providers do the right thing but we recognise some have not been up to scratch.

This funding boost builds on the $32.6 million we announced in May for the new Commission and means issues can be highlighted and dealt with quickly under one agency which reports directly to Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care.

Our message is clear - any organisation or person doing the wrong thing will be found.

Sub-standard care will not be tolerated, including the option to shut down an operator doing the wrong thing.

We will also bring forward $90 million to support aged care providers, with significant funding rolling out this financial year.

$40 million will be available to support aged care services in regional, rural and remote locations to improve, maintain and expand their infrastructure – ensuring older Australians in these locations receive the same support as people in the cities.

We will fund $50 million to support residential aged care providers and their staff improve quality and standards of care across the sector.

Funding will begin to flow next week. This will support 2,700 aged care homes and 366,000 staff in new training as they transition to the new, strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards - to be enforced from 1 July 2019.

This will be the first upgrade of aged care standards in more than 20 years.

We will also release a new strategy to attract and retain more workers for the aged care sector, while also improving the quality of the care given.

This will not only support the creation of new jobs but also ensure older Australians are better supported as the population ages.

We will also bring forward the appointment of a new Chief Clinical Adviser under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner.

The Chief Clinical Adviser position will strengthen medical governance across the sector, providing advice to the Commission and education to the sector while improving the link between doctors and aged care professionals.

Already we have had extensive reviews in the aged care sector from the Tune and Carnell Review, and we are pleased to again strengthen the sector and importantly improve support for Older Australians.

The new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will bring together the functions of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

From 1 January 2020, the Commission will take over the aged care regulatory functions of the Department of Health including provider approvals, quality and prudential compliance, and compulsory reporting.

There will be no more silos – there will be instant and constant communication on compliance, risks and complaints.

The Commission will further ensure there is nowhere to hide on quality care, building on the Government’s introduction of unannounced reaccreditation audits of aged care homes from 1 July 2018.

There are expected to be more than 500 unannounced reaccreditation audits this financial year, along with an additional 2,700 unannounced site visits by assessment teams.

Working with Australian families and aged care providers, we are absolutely committed to giving senior Australians the protection, support, care and respect they deserve. This builds on our support in 2018-19 Budget where we boosted support of older Australians with a $5 billion package.

The Package gives older Australians more choices and greater flexibility, including:

Boosting home care funding by $1.6 billion. Growing home care packages from around 87,000 now to 151,000 by 2021-22 - including a 34,000 increase in high-level packages. Allowing pensioners to earn more without reducing their pension; Greater flexibility to use home equity to increase retirement incomes.
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