Historic reforms to Australias aged care system start today

Historic reforms to Australias aged care system start today

01 August 2013

Older Australians will be better supported, have more choice and better access to information under the historic reforms to aged care taking effect today, the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Senator Jacinta Collins, has announced.

Speaking at Bupa Croydon aged care home in Melbourne, Senator Collins said: August 1 marks the implementation of key changes under the Labor Governments $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms.

A new Home Care Packages Program will be introduced, providing four levels of care to help older Australians living at home.

And all new packages will be delivered under a Consumer Directed Care model, giving people choice and flexibility in how that care is provided, so they can choose the types of care and services they access, whether that be bathing support, help in the garden, help with the laundry or therapy services.

An extra $880 million will increase the number of Home Care packages from 60,000 to 100,000 over the next five years.

From today, Australias Aged Care Commissioner will have greater powers, to independently examine decisions of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme, and to order a new resolution process that takes his views into account.

Also starting today, an extra $285 million will fund new dementia and Veterans supplements for an estimated 24,000 Australians with dementia, as well as Veterans with mental health conditions, in their own homes and in aged care homes.

Almost 300,000 Australians live with dementia, which is expected to increase to 900,000 by 2050.

And a new $1.1 billion Workforce Supplement will fund wage increases for the nations 350,000 aged care staff, recognising the need for quality staff and better wages and conditions.

Senator Collins said under the new initiatives, people receiving Home Care will now have access to the Community Visitors Scheme, providing companionship and reducing social isolation.
And to help older Australians and their families access information about aged care services, we have developed the My Aged Care website (1800 200 422), she said.

These are the most substantial reforms to Australias aged care system in a generation and follow a Productivity Commission review and extensive consultation with the sector, older Australians and their families.

The Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to build a new aged care system with the capacity to provide quality, affordable, accessible and appropriate care to our rapidly ageing population.

Only Labor has a positive plan to ensure the best possible care for older Australians, to substantially increase aged care places and to build a stronger aged care system.