The Morrison Government today reinforces its commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of older Australians with landmark reform to keep seniors safer.
The Aged care legislation amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme and other measures) Bill 2020 will ensure tangible steps toward the prevention of incidence of abuse and neglect of older Australians in care.
The SIRS legislation will also provide a range of broader powers for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, consistent with the Regulatory Powers Act.
It follows the passing of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No.2) Bill 2020 aimed at improving the way home care subsidies are paid to providers for care recipients.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck said the measures reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to prioritising the needs of ageing Australians.
“The Commonwealth continues to build on and strengthen the aged care sector as we anticipate the final recommendations from the Royal Commission later this month,” Minister Colbeck said.
“As the Royal Commission has carried out its important work, we have continued to reform the sector.
“Importantly, these latest measures offer security and peace-of-mind for all older Australians in residential and in-home care settings and for their families.
“The Commonwealth Government is listening and acting to ensure the needs of older Australians are met while Labor continues to deliver nothing but spin and rhetoric.”
Minister Colbeck said the SIRS is intended to drive quality and safety improvements to residential aged care at the individual service and broader system level.
Residential aged care providers will be required to manage all incidents, with a focus on the safety and wellbeing of consumers and reduce preventable incidents from reoccurring.
The SIRS will expand the responsibilities of residential aged care providers in relation to identifying, recording, managing, resolving and reporting assaults and a broader range of serious incidents in residential aged care.
Reporting under the SIRS will include a range of new matters such as sexual misconduct, neglect, psychological abuse, inappropriate use of restraint, and unexpected death amongst others.
Significantly, the SIRS will lift the current exemption on the reporting of resident-on-resident incidents, where the perpetrator has an assessed cognitive impairment.
The first stage of the SIRS will start on 1 April.
Minister Colbeck said consumers expect continuity of care and safeguards across an end-to-end aged care system, which is why the Government has already committed to a prevalence and feasibility study of a SIRS in home and community care settings.
The study is being undertaken by KPMG and is expected to be finalised by late June and will inform Government decisions on a SIRS for home and community care.
Minister Colbeck said the Morrison Government is delivering record investment across the aged care system - from $13.3 billion in 2012-13 under Labor, growing to $24.3 billion in 2020-21 under the Morrison Government.
It is estimated that funding for aged care will grow to more than $27 billion by 2023-24.
“Senior Australians are increasingly choosing to remain in their own homes for longer and the Government is committed to supporting this choice,” Minister Colbeck said.
Since the 2018-19 Budget, the Government has invested an additional $5.5 billion for an additional 83,105 home care packages.
Home care packages are estimated to increase from 60,308 in 2012–13 when we came to Government, to 195,597 during 2020–21.