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10 May 2005
Better outcomes through consultation
Consultation on longer-term reform of the aged care sector
On coming to office in 1996, the Australian Government made aged care a priority and has delivered record funding and reforms to ensure the sector is on a sustainable footing.
The Government’s reforms to aged care in 1997 and 2004 have laid the foundations for quality aged care for older Australians, including the rational and orderly expansion of aged care places, and improved qualifications and skills for the aged care workforce.
In 2005-2006, the Australian Government will explore options for further reform of the aged care sector, to ensure Australia has a sustainable and high quality aged care system that meets the growing needs of the ageing population.
The Government has provided $1.3 million to support a consultation process to progress the next phase of reforms.
Community and aged care sector views will help the Government consider the best options for further staged reform to improve the sector’s long term sustainability, increase care recipients’ choice in finding the services that best suit their individual needs, and further improve quality.
Building on solid foundations
In 2004, the Australian Government released a major report on the aged care sector and its future, the independent Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care
(the Hogan Review).
The Government’s initial response to the report was contained in the $2.2 billion Investing in Australia’s Aged Care: More Places, Better Care
package delivered in the 2004-05 Budget. This package addressed all of the immediate and most of the medium term recommendations of the review.
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Key elements of the package include:
- An estimated 27,900 new aged care places to be allocated over three years, including 13,030 in 2004.
- An extra $877.8 million over four years through a conditional adjustment payment to help providers continue to provide high quality care for older people, including assisting in paying more competitive wages to nurses and other staff. This will deliver a seven per cent increase in funding by 2007-08, on top of the existing annually indexed subsidy.
- Almost $1 billion in Australian Government funding (including more than $500 million in June 2004) to enable aged care providers to construct new homes and refurbish existing homes to meet safety, privacy, space and amenity standards.
- An additional 2,000 transition care places to assist older people following a hospital stay to allow them time to assess their options while receiving rehabilitation services and support to increase their independence and confidence.
- Extra funding of $101.4 million over four years to expand education and training places for aged care workers and nurses.
- Initiatives to help streamline administration and reduce paperwork for aged care providers and staff, enabling staff to spend more time caring for residents.
In the past 12 months the Australian Government has implemented 24 of its 31 initiatives responding to the immediate and most of the medium-term recommendations made by the Review, with the remaining seven well under way.
The Government committed to consult with the community and the aged care sector regarding the Review’s longer term options, which were proposed for consideration after 2008, but which the government believes should be considered now to enable our nation to further prepare for the needs of the ageing population.