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Annual Report - Strategic Directions
Outcome Performance ReportAchievements & ChallengesStrategic DirectionsPerformance InformationResources

Key Strategic Directions for 2005-06


Improved Choice and Availability of Care

During 2005-06, the Department’s activities continued to support the increase in the availability of aged care. In 2001, the Department was given the target of achieving almost 200,000 operational aged care places by June 2006. This goal was met with 204,869 operational aged care places at 30 June 2006. An additional 11,208 aged care places were allocated in the 2005 Aged Care Approvals Round, comprising 5,274 residential aged care places and 5,934 community aged care places (4,352 Community Aged Care Packages, 915 Extended Aged Care at Home packages and 667 Extended Aged Care at Home [Dementia] packages). Table 3.1 shows both allocated and operational aged care places, expressed as the number of places for every 1,000 people aged 70 and over, by aged care planning region.

Two ladies laughing and discussing needlepoint.

Table 3.1: Allocated and Operational Aged Care Places per 1,000 Persons aged 70 and over by Aged Care Planning Region, 30 June 2006 (footnote)

Aged Care
Planning Region

Ratio of Allocated Places

Ratio of Operational Places

Residential Care Community Care Transition Care Total Residential Care Community Care Transition Care Total
New South Wales                
Central Coast 87.0 21.2 - 108.2 73.8 21.2 - 95.1
Central West 95.6 19.1 - 114.7 92.7 18.3 - 111.0
Far North Coast 93.5 19.8 - 113.2 78.1 19.8 - 97.9
Hunter 93.7 18.7 - 112.4 81.8 18.1 - 99.9
Illawarra 95.0 22.1 - 117.0 69.4 22.1 - 91.4
Inner West 118.8 19.0 - 137.8 111.7 19.0 - 130.6
Mid North Coast 95.2 20.6 - 115.8 74.3 20.3 - 94.7
Nepean 103.8 20.0 - 123.8 92.8 19.0 - 111.8
New England 95.8 19.5 - 115.3 84.6 19.5 - 104.1
Northern Sydney 107.0 17.0 - 124.0 101.4 16.9 - 118.3
Orana Far West 97.4 24.9 - 122.3 90.9 24.8 - 115.7
Riverina/Murray 96.0 19.4 - 115.4 81.4 18.7 - 100.1
South East Sydney 90.8 19.9 - 110.8 73.2 19.7 - 92.9
South West Sydney 93.0 19.3 - 112.3 81.4 19.3 - 100.7
Southern Highlands 94.6 19.0 - 113.6 78.6 18.4 - 97.1
Western Sydney 96.5 18.1 - 114.6 86.0 17.3 - 103.3
State Total 97.1 19.5 0.8 117.4 84.1 19.2 0.5 103.8
Victoria                
Barwon-South Western 97.7 20.2 - 118.0 89.7 20.2 - 109.9
Eastern Metropolitan 97.6 19.5 - 117.1 86.8 19.5 - 106.4
Gippsland 95.7 20.8 - 116.5 82.8 20.8 - 103.6
Gramplans 97.2 20.8 - 118.0 86.5 20.8 - 107.3
Hume 100.0 21.2 - 121.2 92.2 21.2 - 113.4
Loddon-Mallee 95.1 19.7 - 114.8 87.2 19.1 - 106.3
Northern Metropolitan 99.3 21.3 - 120.6 82.4 21.3 - 103.7
Southern Metropolitan 97.6 19.2 - 116.8 85.8 19.2 - 105.0
Western Metropolitan 100.1 20.7 - 120.8 84.9 20.3 - 105.1
State Total 98.0 20.1 0.8 118.8 86.0 20.0 0.1 106.2
Queensland                
Brisbane North 102.4 17.5 - 119.9 97.0 17.1 - 114.1
Brisbane South 100.2 17.7 - 117.8 90.4 17.7 - 108.1
Cabool 97.6 17.7 - 115.3 81.6 17.7 - 99.3
Central West 124.2 65.2 - 189.4 114.1 62.1 - 176.2
Darling Downs 98.1 18.0 - 116.0 92.1 18.0 - 110.0
Far North 89.5 25.1 - 114.6 84.1 24.5 - 108.7
Fitzroy 97.6 21.3 - 118.9 90.7 20.9 - 111.7
Logan River Valley 99.1 18.4 - 117.5 65.4 18.4 - 83.7
Mackay 88.4 20.0 - 108.3 83.1 20.0 - 103.0
North West 87.8 63.5 - 151.3 79.5 60.3 - 139.7
Northern 99.6 19.2 - 118.8 96.7 19.2 - 115.9
South Coast 91.3 18.1 - 109.4 78.8 18.0 - 96.9
South West 108.9 47.4 - 156.3 107.9 47.4 - 155.3
Sunshine Coast 90.0 17.7 - 107.7 77.4 17.7 - 95.2
West Moreton 94.5 17.1 - 111.6 88.8 17.1 - 106.0
Wide Bay 93.2 19.3 - 112.5 78.0 19.1 - 97.1
State Total 96.1 19.0 0.8 116.0 85.5 18.9 0.2 104.7
South Australia                
Eyre Peninsula 86.5 23.4 - 109.9 82.8 23.4 - 106.2
Hills, Mallee and Southern 90.3 22.7 - 113.0 81.5 22.7 - 104.2
Metropolitan East 118.3 16.0 - 134.2 117.0 16.0 - 133.0
Metropolitan North 103.9 16.2 - 120.1 89.9 16.2 - 106.1
Metropolitan South 91.1 20.5 - 111.6 83.3 20.5 - 103.8
Metropolitan West 87.0 20.0 - 107.1 83.5 20.0 - 103.5
Mid North 82.9 24.4 - 107.3 80.9 24.4 - 105.3
Riverland 83.2 25.6 - 108.8 83.2 25.6 - 108.8
South East 86.7 21.9 - 108.6 86.7 21.9 - 108.6
Whyalla, Flinders and Far North 89.8 39.1 - 128.9 83.9 39.1 - 123.0
Yorke, Lower North and Barossa 96.1 23.0 - 119.1 96.1 23.0 - 119.1
State Total 97.4 19.9 0.7 118.0 91.8 19.9 0.5 112.3
Western Australia                
Goldfields 103.8 27.6 - 131.4 100.7 26.8 - 127.5
Great Southern 92.5 22.6 - 115.1 90.4 22.2 - 112.7
Kimberley 139.0 52.1 - 191.1 112.9 52.1 - 165.1
Metropolitan East 100.5 17.9 - 118.4 96.1 17.3 - 113.4
Metropolitan North 93.3 20.0 - 113.4 77.7 19.8 - 97.5
Metropolitan South East 111.4 22.9 - 134.3 102.6 21.3 - 123.9
Metropolitan South West 85.9 16.6 - 102.5 75.0 15.8 - 90.8
Mid West 83.8 29.1 - 112.9 67.9 25.3 - 93.2
Pilbara 124.1 74.7 - 198.8 74.7 74.7 - 149.5
South West 97.5 21.7 - 119.2 82.0 21.5 - 103.5
Wheatbelt 68.3 25.6 - 93.9 60.4 23.2 - 83.7
State Total 95.6 20.6 0.6 116.8 84.7 19.8 0.3 104.7
Tasmania                
North Western 86.8 19.5 - 106.3 81.4 19.5 - 100.9
Northern 99.7 23.0 - 122.6 87.4 23.0 - 110.4
Southern 96.8 21.1 - 117.9 90.7 19.7 - 110.4
State Total 95.3 21.3 1.0 117.6 87.6 20.6 0.3 108.5
Northern Territory                
Alice Springs 169.0 199.6 - 368.6 158.9 199.6 - 358.5
Barkly 161.0 355.9 - 516.9 161.0 355.9 - 516.9
Darwin 86.3 88.3 - 174.5 80.5 88.3 - 168.8
East Arnhem 70.5 461.5 - 532.1 70.5 461.5 - 532.1
Katherine 165.9 190.2 - 356.1 165.9 190.2 - 356.1
Territory Total 109.6 135.1 - 244.8 103.8 135.1 - 238.9
Australian Capital Territory                
Australian Capital Territory 99.9 24.3 - 124.1 71.5 23.9 - 95.4
Territory Total 99.9 24.3 1.6 125.7 71.5 23.9 0.4 95.9
Australia 97.0 20.1 0.8 117.9 85.6 19.9 0.3 105.8

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During 2005-06, the Department commenced implementing the ‘Helping Australians with Dementia, and Their Carers - Making Dementia a National Health Priority’ initiative announced in the 2005-06 Budget. The Department supported people with dementia, their carers and families, by establishing eight Dementia and Memory Community Centres and providing 41 community support grants. The Department also improved dementia research by establishing three new dementia collaborative research centres and inviting expressions of interest for dementia research through the National Health and Medical Research Council. The dementia workforce was strengthened by the establishment of four dementia training study centres and the selection of organisations to provide almost 17,000 aged care workers with dementia training.

During 2005-06, the Department managed the development of improved care choices for older Australians through the implementation of new types of care.

During 2005-06, the Department worked with the states and territories to expand the Transition Care Program. Transition care helps older Australians to complete their recovery process after a hospital stay, before returning home or entering an aged care facility. The Department met the Australian Government’s target of allocating 1,500 transition care places by 30 June 2006, with many services beginning to deliver care during 2005-06.

During 2005-06, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare completed an evaluation of the Retirement Villages Care Pilot, resulting in an Australian Government announcement of funding to help people in retirement villages gain improved access to community care programs.

The Department also increased assistance to carers through: new projects for employed carers and overnight respite in community respite houses; an increase in high care respite in residential aged care homes; and the provision of additional funding for Multipurpose Services to deliver respite care in rural and remote areas.

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Reform of the Aged Care Sector

In 2005-06, the Department continued work towards improved accountability and management in residential aged care. The Department developed new prudential regulatory arrangements to improve management and security of residents’ accommodation bonds, complemented by a scheme to guarantee repayment of bonds should a provider become bankrupt or insolvent. Legislation for these initiatives was passed by Parliament in March 2006 and the Department distributed detailed guidance to approved providers. The Department implemented the first cycle of the financial reporting requirements for eligibility for the Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP) aimed at strengthening the financial management of the aged care industry. It also implemented the second cycle of the CAP staff training requirements to increase opportunities for and encourage staff training. An extensive educative program informed aged care providers of the requirements for eligibility of the CAP.

Working with a consultant, during 2005-06 the Department completed a large-scale national trial of a new classification and funding instrument for residential aged care, in which 23 per cent of aged care homes participated. The timeframes for the trial were extended to accommodate detailed discussions on participation in the trial by Aged Care Assessment Team staff, independent community nursing staff and nursing agency staff as well as more extensive follow-up of submission of data by participating residential aged care services. The results provided valuable information to assist in finalising the new funding model and setting payment levels for introduction in 2007.

During 2005-06, the Department continued to drive improvements in standards of care and services in residential aged care through the accreditation, complaints and compliance programs. The certification program encourages providers to invest in capital improvements to achieve higher standards of fire safety, privacy and space amenity.

In early 2006, the Minister for Ageing established the Residential Aged Care Abuse Taskforce to analyse stakeholder feedback concerning physical and sexual abuse in residential aged care. Residents, their families, and approved providers were encouraged, by the Department, to provide written comment on the issue of elder abuse and proposed initiatives to increase security and protection in aged care facilities. New measures to ensure that providers continue to improve care and protection for aged care recipients included:
  • an increased number of spot checks by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd;
  • a requirement for police checks for all staff and for volunteers funded through the Community Visitors Scheme;
  • significant changes to complaints handling procedures;
  • compulsory reporting of incidents involving sexual or serious physical assault; and
  • whistleblower protection for people reporting such assaults.

A New Strategy for Community Care - The Way Forward outlines actions aimed at strengthening and improving the community care system. At its February 2006 meeting, the Council of Australian Governments:
  • endorsed work already underway toward more consistent entry, eligibility, assessment and referral processes in the Home and Community Care Program; and
  • agreed to improved performance management of Aged Care Assessment Teams, to ensure timelier, more consistent and accountable assessments for frail older people requiring care services.

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Supporting Older Australians to have Healthy, Independent and Active Lives

The Department organised and managed an inaugural National Day for Older Australians on 1 October 2005 in Canberra. It produced certificates of recognition and a book of stories of inspiring senior Australians, to help improve community attitudes to older Australians and participation by older Australians in community activities. The day celebrates the contributions that older Australians make to their communities and families and enhances people’s attitudes towards older Australians.

The Department continued to invest in developing collaborative research and developing the evidence base to inform policy and practice that, in turn, supports older Australians to have healthy, independent and active lives for as long as possible. In 2005-06, the Department worked closely with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) on joint NHMRC/ARC-funded programs such as the Research Network in Ageing Well and the National Research Priority Ageing Well, Ageing Productively research program.

Older people are among those particularly at risk of vision loss and the prevalence of sight problems increases rapidly with age, reaching 96 per cent by ages 75 and over. The May 2003 World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution WHA56.26 urged member states to develop a national Vision 2020 plan, in partnership with the World Health Organization and in collaboration with non-governmental organisations and the private sector, to prevent avoidable blindness. Australia’s response is the National Framework for Action to Promote Eye Health and Prevent Avoidable Blindness and Vision Loss. The Department and the Victorian Department of Human Services and Health jointly led the development of the framework, which was endorsed by all Australian Health Ministers in November 2005. The framework sets out key strategies to reduce the incidence of avoidable blindness and vision loss in Australia through:
  • reducing the risk of eye disease and injury;
  • increasing early detection;
  • improving access to care;
  • improving the systems and quality of care; and
  • improving the underlying evidence base.

A revised mechanism to assess the GST-free eligibility of services and accommodation charges for residents of serviced apartments within retirement villages was to have been completed by 1 July 2005. The Department managed extensive consultation with other agencies, State and Territory governments and service providers, but negotiations were still ongoing at the end of 2005-06.

Three people having fun at a piano at an aged care facility in Canberra.

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Footnotes.

The ratios in Table 3.1 are based on estimates of the population aged 70 years or over as at 30 June 2006 prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and based upon ABS Population Projections, Australia (3,222.0), series B.

The ratios in Table 3.1 include flexible care: Transition Care, Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) and EACH Dementia, Multipurpose Services (MPS), permanently allocated Innovative Care (IC) places and places under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Strategy (ATSI). MPS, IC and ATSI flexible care places are notionally allocated as high care, low care and community care packages. Community care included Community Aged Care Packages (CACP), EACH and EACH Dementia places.

The higher levels of provision in the Northern Territory address the care needs of Indigenous people aged 50 years and over.

Return to Table 3.1


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Produced by the Portfolio Strategies Division, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
URL: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/annrpt/publishing.nsf/Content/strategic-directions-0506-3
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