The Government recognises the complex and previously undervalued work of the aged care workforce which is why we are investing $11.3 billion to fund the Fair Work Commission’s interim decision for a 15% pay increase.
This is the largest ever pay increase for aged care workers. It signifies real progress towards genuinely valuing their dedication and skill and will help aged care providers attract and retain staff.
We will invest in our workers with advancements to the National Worker Registration Scheme, engaging with the aged care, health and training sectors ($59.5m).
We will invest $72.3 million in a new regulatory model and prudential framework, to be reflected in a new Aged Care Act. This Budget investment will improve quality and safety, and restore trust and confidence through changes in how providers are regulated. The new model will be complemented by actions to:
- strengthen food and nutrition reporting, direct expert dietary advice to providers and embed improved dining experiences for aged care residents ($12.9m)
- begin Monthly Care Statements with information on care provided and occurrences of significant change or events for residents ($1.3m)
- enhance Star Ratings for better data quality and analysis ($126.7m)
- expand the existing Quality Indicator program to in-home care services ($11.9m).
Older Australians increasingly want to receive aged care and live independently in their own homes for longer. This Budget provides 9,500 additional Home Care Packages, to be released in 2023-24, and establishes new aged care assessment arrangements from July 2024.
A new Aged Care Taskforce will be established to review aged care funding arrangements and develop options to make the system fair and equitable for all Australians.
The Taskforce will also inform the final design of the Support at Home program which will be postponed to commence on 1 July 2025, in response to feedback and to allow time to further refine the design. A July 2025 start date, will also ensure aged care service providers are well prepared for the change, avoiding disruptions to continuity of care for older people. Existing grant arrangements for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme will be extended for a further 12 months to 30 June 2025.
For older people requiring residential care, we will develop systems to help choose their provider, giving them greater choice and control in decision making.
Aged care residents will have better access to high quality, continuous primary care through reforms to strengthen Medicare, with new incentives for GPs to provide care to residents through MyMedicare ($112m).
We will continue to support the viability of aged care providers in rural and remote areas and address a shocking inequity that saw providers of culturally safe care for First Nations elders funded less, per resident, than other mainstream providers, through a funding uplift to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program ($52.1m).
The Budget also provides support to build the capacity of Aboriginal Controlled Organisations so that First Nations elders will continue to receive the care they need on Country ($7.6m).
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
‘This Budget continues our strong agenda on aged care, increasing our workforce, and improving care, transparency and accountability in the sector.’
‘Aged care workers have been undervalued and underpaid for too long – we are supporting a wage increase for them because it’s the right thing to do.’
Quotes attributable to Minister Wells:
‘We are ambitious for aged care and determined to ensure the older people who helped build this country receive safe, high quality, support.’
‘This Budget meets these challenges head-on, with targeted and responsible investments that put the health, wellbeing and dignity of older Australians receiving aged care front and centre.’
‘I invite Australians to be ambitious with the Albanese Government and commit to the future of aged care as we build a system that is equitable, sustainable, and trusted to deliver quality services for older people.’