PDF printable version of Launch of the Aged Care Diversity Framework (PDF 204 KB)
6 December 2017
Good morning, it’s a pleasure to be with you.
Before I begin I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I’d like to welcome Sam Edmonds, Chair of the Aged Care Sector Committee Diversity Sub-Group, and all members.
On behalf of the Turnbull Government, I thank you for your exceptional work on the Aged Care Diversity Framework.
This is a significant document that will play an important role in the Government’s generational aged care reforms.
Reforms that will chart the future of our aged care system, to meet the needs and expectations of senior Australians.
Our reform agenda isn’t developing in isolation.
It’s the result of working together – with the experts, with peak bodies, aged care organisations, providers, and seniors, their families and carers.
The Aged Care Diversity Framework before us today is the result of countless hours of consultation across the nation.
Making sure that all Australians, no matter what their background or life experience, have access to safe, quality, affordable and flexible aged care is the goal.
Our focus is customer engagement through personalisation of services – not for the majority of seniors in our diverse communities – but for everyone.
So it is essential that the diversity of race, religion, spirituality, language, sexuality, gender, economic status and personal experience across the broader population is also reflected in the aged care provision for senior Australians.
Let me give you a few examples of the diversity – indeed the diversity within diversity – in our community.
There are more than 100,000 seniors with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage in Australia; more than one in ten older people have diverse sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex characteristics; over 36 per cent of senior Australians were born overseas; and there are half a million care leavers in Australia who are now between 40 and 90 years of age, with the numbers of parents separated from their children by forced adoption or removal still unknown.
I believe that an inclusive aged care system is one that embraces diversity in all its forms – and that we as Australians, have a responsibility to work to deliver this.
Recently, I released findings from two separate reviews about how aged care services are working for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and LGBTI people.
Both of these reviews provide an important foundation to build a truly inclusive aged care system that recognises diversity.
The reviews show aged care stakeholders – providers, peak bodies, individuals and government – have made a concerted effort to implement the strategies over the past five years, with many positive initiatives undertaken along the way.
The reviews also outline current challenges which will need further action and consultation.
To build on this work, I established the Aged Care Sector Committee Diversity Sub-Group to provide advice on the development of an overarching Aged Care Diversity Framework.
It was my view that we needed something broader.
I met with the sub-group to discuss the Framework and from the start, their passion for, and commitment to, this project was clear.
Again, I want to thank all members for their dedication and hard work, and I commend their understanding of the key barriers older people face in accessing the aged care services they need and deserve.
I pay tribute to every one of the individuals and organisations who have contributed and worked together to bring us this Framework, many who are here today, a range of people as inclusive as the Framework itself.
Among you: advocates for care leavers, homeless, indigenous, Stolen Generation, LGBTI, and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people, plus dementia, aged care and seniors groups.
Development of the Framework has been informed through a broad public consultation process, including direct engagement by sub-group members with the community.
In recent years, as the aged care sector has matured and moved towards customer- directed care, more thought has gone into the specific care needs of individuals.
The Framework focuses on assisting providers, peak organisations and governments to acknowledge an individual’s diverse characteristics and life experiences.
This goes to the core of our reforms, which are aimed at treating all people as individuals and to tailor the services we offer.
I will briefly outline the Framework’s six priorities that will help guide the sector.
- Making informed choices.
- Adopting systemic approaches to planning and implementation.
- Accessible care and support.
- Supporting a proactive and flexible system.
- Respectful and inclusive services.
- Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable.
These plans will address the specific barriers and challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex. The action plans will be developed by mid-2018.
There are also options for other action plans, to address new priorities, as they are identified.
That’s because this new Aged Care Sector Diversity Framework is a living document.
It’s important that we regularly revisit the Framework – so we can see what’s working and what’s not, and continue to refine our approach.
It will also be used to help develop future policy and implement programs for the benefit of seniors with diverse backgrounds and life experiences as they age.
All Australians deserve the best of care that suits their needs.
Armed with this Framework, we are on track for a new era that respects difference, and targets practical ways of making the most successful multicultural nation on Earth, even better for senior Australians.