The Australian Government welcomes the Interim Report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which has been tabled in the Australian Parliament today.
The Government will carefully consider the findings in the interim report – and continue to listen to the issues as they emerge through the course of this important inquiry.
The interim report and the Royal Commission’s hearings to date tell us some aged care providers are falling far short of delivering the safe, high-quality care expected by senior Australians and their loved ones.
We acknowledge that the Government also has work to do and will consider and act on the Royal Commission findings, whilst noting significant reforms are in progress.
The problems raised today in the Interim Report have challenged governments, industry and the community over many decades and require a coordinated response from all involved.
Establishing the Royal Commission was one of Scott Morrison’s first decisions as Prime Minister.
As the Prime Minister said at a media conference at the time, Australia had to brace itself for some difficult stories arising out of the Royal Commission – but confronting these stories honestly and in a way that helped us to learn and ensure they were not repeated was all part of the Royal Commission’s process.
We are shocked by the stories that have arisen but we must and we will learn from them – bringing Australians together to ensure as a community we are providing the care and respect senior Australians deserve.
At the same time, it is also clear there are many aged care providers and workers who are delivering outstanding care.
It is important to stress that as the Royal Commission undertakes its work, the Government is continuing to act. We have invested more than $1 billion in aged care reforms since the Royal Commission was announced in September 2018.
The Morrison Government is delivering record investment across the Aged Care system from $13.3 billion in 2012-13 under Labor, growing to $21.7 billion in 2019-20 to an estimated $25.4 billion in 2022-23.
The Government’s reforms include:
- establishing the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to deliver a tough and vigilant cop on the beat to improve quality and safety
- allocating $38.4 million over five years to strengthen regulation through risk-based targeting and information sharing
- on 1 July 2019, implementing new tougher Aged Care Quality Standards and a new Charter of Rights covering 14 fundamental rights for seniors receiving aged care
- mandating participation in the quality indicator program from 1 July 2019
- implementing new provider requirements to minimise the use of restraints in residential aged care
- investing $4.6 million to trial a new residential care funding tool (to replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument)
- increasing the provision of home care packages by 161 per cent from 60,308 in 2012-13 to 157,154 in 2022-23. Over the same period, funding for home care packages will increase by 242 per cent due to growth in high-level packages.
The Royal Commission was given a broad remit to inquire into the quality of aged care services provided to Australians. The Government provided it with funding of $104.3 million over four years to enable it to undertake its work. The Commission has already held 13 rounds of hearings and received more than 6,600 submissions.
It is important the Royal Commission has sufficient time to conduct its inquiry thoroughly and develop a set of recommendations that are both comprehensive and practical.
On 13 September 2019, the Royal Commission was granted an extension to enable it to undertake further hearings and inquiry work to address the remaining matters in its Terms of Reference.
The delivery date for the Commission’s final report has been extended from 30 April 2020 to 12 November 2020.
We also wish to acknowledge the professionalism, compassion and leadership demonstrated by the late Commissioner Tracey in his work on this Interim Report and continue to extend our condolences to his family.