Places to people – Embedding choice in residential aged care

Find out about changes that will allow residential care places to be allocated directly to older Australians.

Changes to residential aged care

When the new Aged Care Act comes into force, a new residential aged care system will take a person-centred approach that places older Australians first.

Places will be assigned to older Australians, and this will provide them with more choice and control over which provider delivers their care.

When bed licenses end, approved providers will no longer need an allocation of places to provide residential care. Providers will have greater control over their business decisions. They will be able to develop high quality and innovative models of care and accommodation that best meet the preferences of older Australians. 

Why these changes are important

The Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) no longer met the needs of older Australians or residential aged care providers. People could only choose from a residential care provider that had been allocated a place through an ACAR. This limits the choice for older Australians and restricts providers’ ability to grow and innovate.

Older Australians who are considering residential aged care or changing their provider will benefit from:

  • increased competition in the sector which will improve quality of care
  • greater opportunities to exercise choice

New and existing residential aged care providers will no longer be allocated places. This will:

  • give them greater freedom to adjust and expand service offerings to better meet demand
  • create a strong residential aged care market with high quality, innovative and financially viable providers.

Transitioning to the new system

Transitional arrangements are in place for residential aged care providers until the new Aged Care Act comes into force.

Application for ‘bed-ready’ residential care places

Providers who can immediately provide care (are ‘bed-ready’) but do not hold an allocation of places, can apply for residential care places through a non-competitive process.

Applications for places can be made using the bed-ready application form.

The application requires a provider to demonstrate it is bed-ready and how it will meet the needs of potential residents in its community.

Providers must have a satisfactory provider compliance record. This means no active sanctions or recent history of systemic non-compliance that is yet to be remedied.

There are no caps on the number of places a provider can apply for. A supply of residential care places will be maintained nationwide until the new Aged Care Act begins.

Download the bed-ready application form.

Intention to undertake residential developments

Providers can provide information about projects that are not yet bed-ready, but that will require places before the new Aged Care Act comes into force.

This can be done by completing the ‘Intention to develop’ form.

This form requires providers to submit details about the:

  • proposed service
  • number of residential places required
  • anticipated timing of key development milestones.

The Department of Health and Aged Care will advise in writing that places will be available to support the development at the time it is ‘bed-ready’.

Download the intention to develop application form.

If you have questions about the bed-ready process you can email the team.

Previous consultations

The first round of consultation took place in late 2021 with a discussion paper, online survey and virtual workshops A summary report, Places to People – embedding choice in residential aged care: consultation outcomes, has been produced to provide the key themes and outcomes resulting from the consultation.

A second round of targeted consultations with providers and older Australians was held in late 2022. The consultations explored key policy approaches relating to system design elements and communication strategies.

The consultations will guide the design and implementation of the Places to People and related aged care reforms.

Stay up to date by registering for our aged care sector newsletter and announcements. You can also register to receive updates about aged care reform activities and ways you can participate.

Learn more

For more information, please see our fact sheets for the general public and providers.

Find out more about the Australian Government’s aged care reforms, including:

  • building the sector’s financial resilience
  • increasing transparency
  • strengthening governance.

Contact

Aged care enquiries contact

Contact us if you have any general enquiries about aged care. You can also use this email address to submit aged care speaker request forms.
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