Senior Australians in regional, rural and remote areas will benefit from the single largest investment in residential aged care infrastructure in Australia’s history.
The Australian Government will invest up to $150 million in capital grants as part of the 2020 targeted Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR), focussed on key areas of demand.
The 2020 ACAR will also make available 2000 residential care places targeting providers in a position to bring new beds onto the market quickly.
Additionally, 1028 short-term restorative care (STRC) places, will also be made available.
A further 8000 places will remain on hold pending the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The residential care places in this ACAR are targeted to providers who can commence delivering care immediately or within 18 months.
The $150 million in grants are available to fund a range of activities focussed on improving access to quality residential aged care services in areas outside of the major cities.
Priorities for funding include:
- upgrades to create more spacious rooms, increase privacy and decrease the need for shared living quarters;
- a focus on dementia-friendly services aimed at allowing those diagnosed with dementia living in the bush to remain in their communities;
- improved infection prevention and control measures; and
- help for providers in financial stress to bring their allocations of residential care places online, including those impacted by bushfires and COVID-19.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the $150 million in grant funding represents a major commitment to regional, rural and remote Australia.
“Now is the time to back providers to develop and deliver quality residential care services where they are needed most, as well as boost the economy through jobs creation in the construction and aged care sectors,” Minister Colbeck said.
In addition to the grant funding, the 2000 residential care places on offer will accommodate those providers which have made significant progress with residential care expansion plans ensuring care can be provided faster.
“On top of this, we have boosted the number of STRC places available to more than one thousand, which assists more senior Australians to improve their independence and limit the need for higher levels of care,” Minister Colbeck said.
The impacts of the pandemic response, coupled with the generational reforms well underway, have required a refocus of the 2020 ACAR, he said.
“The pre-COVID-19 landscape for conducting an ACAR looked a lot different to where we are now.
“We are also drawing closer to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report in February.”
Minister Colbeck said that prior to its postponement due to COVID-19, the 2020 ACAR was going to make available 10,000 residential care places and 750 STRC places.
“We are working towards increasing supply subject to the recommendations of the Royal Commission’s final report
“Residential care places can often take over four years to become operational.
“It is therefore pragmatic to wait for the preferred reform pathway to be in place, before allocating places to projects that take this amount of time.”
Applications for the latest ACAR round open for three months from December 18.
Application forms, guidance materials and other resources can be found here.