Changes to residential aged care
From 1 July 2024, a new residential aged care system will commence, with 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.
Bed licenses will end on 30 June 2024 and 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 until 30 June 2024 for approved residential aged care providers.
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 30 June 2024.
Intention to undertake residential developments
Providers can provide information about projects that are not yet bed-ready, but that will require places prior to 1 July 2024.
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’.
If you have questions about the bed-ready process you can email the team.
Have your say
To design the new system, we will continue to consult with:
- older Australians, their families and carers
- approved providers
- peak bodies and other non-government organisations
- finance lenders, banks and auditors
- other Australian Government, state and territory government departments and agencies.
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.
Findings and issues presented in this report will guide the design and implementation of the ACAR Transition and related aged care reforms.
Further consultations will commence shortly.
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.
Find out more about the Australian Government’s aged care reforms, including:
- building the sector’s financial resilience
- increasing transparency
- strengthening governance.