Measures to support Senior Australians and those who care for them
New measures for the Aged Care sector have been unveiled as the Morrison Government continues to strengthen Australia’s defence against COVID-19.
Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
Former Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
Former Minister for Sport
Today the National Cabinet agreed on temporary funding to support Aged Care providers, residents, staff and families.
Building on the package of measures announced last week, additional funding of $444.6 million is expected to strengthen the industry, with specific mechanisms to reinforce the aged care workforce.
It will include:
- $234.9 million for a COVID-19 ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for aged care workers in both residential and home care.
- This will mean a payment of up to $800 after tax per quarter – paid for two quarters – for direct care workers.
- Two payments of up to $600 after tax per quarter – for two quarters – for those who provide care in the home.
- Payments will be delivered to providers to pay their workers and part-time workers will be paid a pro-rata rate.
- $78.3 million in additional funding for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply.
- $26.9 million for a temporary 30 per cent increase to the Residential and Home Care Viability Supplements and the Homeless Supplement. This includes equivalent viability funding increases for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program providers, Multi-Purpose Services and homeless providers.
- $92.2 million in additional support to home care providers and organisations which deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, operating services including meals on wheels. This will include services for people in self-isolation such as shopping and meal delivery.
- $12.3 million to support the My Aged Care service to meet the surge in aged care specific COVID-19 enquiries, allowing for additional staff to minimise call wait times.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck said these important measures offered a reinforced framework to ensure the sector would continue to support those we love most.
“As the transmission of COVID-19 increases rapidly, it is our priority to protect and support elderly and vulnerable Australians,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Aged care is a critical sector that faces staffing challenges as existing staff are either subject to self-isolation requirements due to COVID-19 or are unable to attend work.
“We know we are asking a lot of this critical workforce as we face this unprecedented health emergency. Their work practices are changing – and today’s announcement is in recognition of this.
“The Government will continue to work with the sector to ensure we have the strongest possible workforce in place as we deal with this extraordinary health challenge.”
Minister Colbeck said guidelines for Aged Care facilities remained in place.
Additional fact sheets released by the Department of Health now include:
- Resources for Senior Australians, developed in conjunction with the Council of the Ageing (COTA)
- Guidelines for workers in residential aged care
- Information for families and residents regarding visitation
Minister Colbeck said the care and wellbeing of senior Australians remained a priority in this uncertain time.
“We are facing an extraordinary health challenge and we need to work together to protect the Australians most vulnerable to COVID-19,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Our number one priority is to slow the spread of coronavirus to save lives.
“The Australian Government will continue to act on advice and update the sector as we face this challenge together.”