After the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety were released in February 2021, the Federal Government was poised to deliver a significant investment into the sector in its federal budget.
In the May 11 budget, the Government announced $17.7 billion in funding for the sector over the next five years.
ACH Group CEO Frank Weits said, “We welcome the significant investment into the aged care sector. The investment in increased home care and residential care sustainability is timely. However, we believe there is still more to be done to address the shortfall in the supply and upskilling of the workforce.”
Here are some of the key measures from the federal budget, with Mr Weits’ takeaways.
- From 1 July 2021 a new government-funded “Basic Daily Fee” supplement of $10 per resident, a day, will be introduced for providers to improve care and services.
- From 1 October 2023 residential care to deliver an average of 200 care minutes per resident, per day.
- From 2024, residential aged care places allocated to consumers instead of providers to drive choice for consumers and competition between providers.
Takeaway on residential aged care – “Today residential care customers and their families can have confidence these measures will begin to address the sustainability challenges of the sector and there is a roadmap for increased choice.”
- Additional 80,000 home care packages over two years, bringing the total to more than 275,000 by June 2023.
- More transparency and compliance with Home Care Packages.
- $798.3 million for carer support and respite services, with more targeted support for carers looking after people living with dementia.
- Investment in improving My Aged Care and local face-to-face services to help people navigate the aged care service.
- In 2023, there will be a new single funded Home Care program.
Takeaway on home care – “The addition of 80,000 home care packages, together with better navigation to connect to the right services, will be of significant benefit to more older Australians wanting to stay at home.”
- $91.8 million over 2021-22 to support training of 13,000 new home care workers.
- 33,800 new training places through JobTrainer to enable existing and new care workers to improve their qualifications.
- Additional training and financial support to encourage RNs to choose a career in aged care.
Takeaway on the workforce: “On paper the announcement for workforce funding looked good however when looking at further detail there is a lack of true reform. There are new training places, however this won’t solve the greater workforce supply challenges.”
Quality and safety
- Additional $301.3 million to increase the capability and capacity of the independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
- Development of a new Aged Care Act.
- Establishment of a new Star Rating System on the My Aged Care website for residential aged care.
Takeaway on quality and safety – “We welcome these investments for a simpler, fairer and higher quality system. The federal budget announcements on May 11 together with the Government’s response to the final report into the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety marks the beginning of a new era in aged care reform.”