The continuation of once-in-a-generation aged care reform following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is critical in being able to achieve the kind of care and support older Australians both need and deserve, the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) says.
It says sustainable funding and changes to workforce are key elements of this reform requiring immediate attention in the 2023 Federal Budget to be handed down in May by the Albanese Government.
In its pre-Budget Submission, ACCPA proposes 15 recommendations under six priority areas, including development of a sustainable funding system into the future and proposals to ease the sector’s workforce crisis.
ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson says it is crucial the Budget address funding designed to improve the lives of older people in Australia with seamless delivery of services no matter where they live.
“Seven out of ten aged care providers are operating at a loss and the situation appears to be worsening,” Symondson says.
“We need a considered debate on how we fund aged care into the future including the possibility of consumer co-contributions for those who can afford it.
He said the sector needs to find a way of protecting access for those who can least afford to pay for their care, while supporting a sustainable aged care sector.
“There are some immediate funding issues the Government can address in this Budget, such as implementing the indexation increase for all forms of aged care to catch-up with the royal commission’s recommendation from two years ago.
“This would be followed by ongoing indexation from July 1 this year to fully cover CPI increases.”
ACCPA also recommends an $853 million injection into the Home Care Program to clear the waiting list for 2023-24 ahead of the home care program which commences in July 2024.
Additional funding is also recommended to support residential aged care providers to meet the mandated target of 215 minutes of daily care for residents from October 2023.
Symondson said the recommendations in ACCPA’s submission focused on what can be established or ‘seeded’ in the coming year so that a positive impact on the lives of older people can be realistically achieved.
“ACCPA is committed to a collaborative approach, working in partnership with government, consumers, aged care workers and providers to develop solutions to the considerable challenges facing Australia’s aged care sector,” Symondson says.
“Our older people are to be cherished and supported as they age. We want to work to ensure they can live their best lives. It’s what they deserve.”
ACCPA priority areas for reform are:
- Ensuring a long-term sustainable funding system
- Funding to improve the lives of older people in Australia, across the whole country;
- Delivering seamless aged care for older Australians in their communities, their homes and residential care if they need it;
- Planning for aged care reform success;
- Ensuring aged care for where you live, when you need it and how you need it; and
- Solving the workforce crisis to ensure the best care.
Read the ACCPA pre-Budget submission here.