Aged Care and other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022

Read the transcript of Minister Well's speech in parliament on 28 July 2022.

The Hon Anika Wells MP
Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Sport

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Ms WELLS (Lilley—Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Sport) (11:39): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Today I introduce the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022.

Restoring dignity, care, accountability and humanity back into aged care starts with the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Reforming aged care starts by listening.

It starts by recognising that we are not the first government to be challenged to confront these issues.

This isn't the first parliament that has needed to take action on aged care.

Too many parliaments, too many governments have shunned the hard work needed to support our aged-care system.

The royal commissioners wrote:

Over the last several decades, successive Australian Governments have brought a level of ambivalence, timidity and detachment to their approach to aged care.

This government, myself included, may be many things, but we are not timid, ambivalent nor detached.

Aged care is in crisis. It has been for decades. A poor system was weak before a pandemic made it weaker.

Over the last decade we have all been warned.

Over the last decade the hazard lights have been flashing bright red.

Over the last decade our oldest Australians in residential care were pressing call buttons in the night and receiving silence.

They are crying out for a government to act.

Over the last decade there have been 23 reports, inquiries, studies, committee reports and a royal commission telling us the same story.

We must confront the missed opportunities.

We must see change.

I seek leave to table the 23 reports for the House conducted over the last nine years in aged care.

These are the reports of neglect, and these are the reports of ignoring aged-care concerns.

These are the stories of the people in care.

These are the stories of neglect, of a system in crisis, of the thousands of Australians crying out for just a little bit better, for just a little care, for just a sense of humanity.

At last. Today that work begins.

Schedule 1 of this bill relates to the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) model for calculating aged-care subsidies that was endorsed by the royal commission.

Schedule 2 of the bill is a new measure that will facilitate the publication of star ratings.

Schedule 3 introduces a code of conduct for the aged-care sector, as recommended by the royal commission.

Schedule 4 of this bill extends the Serious Incident Response Scheme to home care and flexible care.

Schedule 5 of this bill strengthens the governance of approved providers.

Schedule 6 facilitates increased information sharing.

Schedule 7 of the bill will increase government oversight of how refundable accommodation deposits and bonds.

Schedule 8 of the bill expands the functions of a renamed Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority.

Schedule 9 of the bill will enable the implementation of an interim solution with respect to the requirement to obtain informed consent for the use of restrictive practices.

Schedule 9 to the bill also provides a limited immunity from civil or criminal liability that may arise in relation.

to the use of a restrictive practice where someone follows all of the requirements under Commonwealth law in relation to the use of a restrictive practice. This provision does not provide a broad immunity to negligence in respect of the use of a restrictive practice.

Aged care is an urgent priority for this government.

We have seen, we have listened and we are now acting.

I commend the bill to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Freelander): Firstly, is leave granted for the documents to be tabled?

Ms Landry: Yes.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Secondly, the question now is that this bill be now read a second time. Is leave granted to continue the debate?

Ms Landry: Yes.


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