Dietitians Australia (DA) says it welcomes the focus on aged care legislative reform by the Albanese Government on its first parliamentary sitting day.
“The introduction of the Aged Care Amendment (Registered Nurses Care) Bill and Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Financial Transparency) Bill by the new Government are welcome first steps in the right direction,” DA CEO Robert Hunt said.
“We’re hopeful this is just the start of a meaningful transformation of our aged care sector, and the lives of our elderly Australians.”
Hunt said DA are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to meet with the new Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells.
“As the leading voice in nutrition and dietetics in Australia we are committed to ensuring malnutrition in aged care is eradicated and money intended to be spent on food for residents makes its way into nutritious meals that are consumed,” he said.
“With skill shortages and the winter wave of COVID-19 the aged care workforce is stretched beyond its limits.
“Who is on hand to help ensure resident mealtimes are supervised and supported with a nourishing meal plan?
Hunt explained that DA’s Accredited Practising Dietitians can help relieve some of the pressure being experienced in the aged care workforce.
“We have hundreds of them skilled in aged care nutrition, willing and eager to contribute,” he said.
Hunt said dieticians are still concerned that under the Government’s Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Financial Transparency) Bill, it still relies on self-reporting by aged care providers, there is no independent audit.
“For a sector in such a state of crisis, we need the requirement for accountability and transparency to go much further than this,” he said.
“[That said] it will be a relief to many Australian families knowing there could soon be a guarantee their loved ones will have access to a registered nurse on duty in their aged care facilities.
“This is an incredibly important step, and we commend Aged Care Minister Anika Wells and Assistant Minister Ged Kearney on pushing this to the forefront.”