The Federal Government has said it welcomes the release of the overview of Australia’s age care system, the Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act (1997).
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the report offered important insight into the sector’s operations during the 2020-21 financial year.
Importantly, they said, it details the challenges faced by senior Australians and the aged care sector in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the critical interventions made by Government as it responded to those challenges.
It includes an overview of systems and resources, service provision from community care through to permanent residential care, services delivered to people with diverse needs, and the provision of regulatory and prudential frameworks to ensure consumers receive high quality services.
Hunt said the past year had been extraordinarily difficult for all Australians as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to consume people’s day to day lives.
“The impact of the virus has been especially felt by people separated from loved ones living in residential aged care facilities because of visitor restrictions necessary to save lives and protect lives,” he said.
“The Morrison Government has worked to support the sector through the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable.”
Hunt said more than $2.1 billion in aged care specific measures had been provided to support residential aged care providers and staff and ensure quality of care.
“This support was wide-ranging and included improved infection-control management and training, workforce support and extra funding to cover the increased costs of caring for older Australians during the pandemic.
“We invested additional funding for better communication with older Australians and their families, as well as improved support for their mental health and wellbeing,” Minister Hunt said.
Colbeck said while managing the immediate threat from COVID-19, the Government has also responded swiftly and decisively to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, with a comprehensive $17.7 billion package.
“Underpinning this reform are the principles of genuine two-way engagement with all involved parties, combined with a commitment to absolute transparency in reporting from providers, in order to strengthen the financial oversight of the aged care sector,” he said.
“Strong, independent oversight of the system is essential for good governance and transparency.
“Our commitment to the wellbeing of senior Australians and the integrity of the aged care system is absolute,” Colbeck said.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the sector to implement reforms that will ensure Australia’s aged care system leads the world now and in the future.”
The full report can be found on the GEN Aged Care Data website, here.