Aged Care overhaul and funding a welcome outcome from Federal Budget
12 May 2021
Following the shortcomings that were exposed in high quality care for elderly Australians during COVID-19, the spotlight was firmly on this year’s Federal Budget to not only provide much needed funding for the aged care sector, but to design a plan to overhaul the fundamental problems that led to the Royal Commission.
Residential and home care
It was welcome news to hear that $17.7 billion in new spending has been allocated for aged care across residential and home care over five years. However, all eyes will be on this sector as this funding rolls.
In response to the Royal Commission’s findings of long wait times for home care packages, the Federal Budget has:
Injected $7.5 billion to focus on reducing wait times under the home care plan.
Added an additional 80,000 home care packages which will be released over the next five years as part of a plan to better meet the needs of senior Australians.
Provided $272.5 million to enhance support and face-to-face services to assist senior Australians accessing and navigating the aged care system.
The extra funding will provide the support needed to clear the the wait list and help ensure the elderly are more informed and educated to access areas of aged care they did not know existed.
Skills training for aged care employees
With estimations that around 40% of Australians living in aged care facilities experience elder abuse in the form of neglect, emotional or physical abuse, the Federal Budget has responded with a $652.1 million package to grow a skilled, professional and compassionate aged care workforce. These funds will be used to upskill the existing workforce and provide much needed training for thousands of new aged care workers.
Whilst the funding will assist in staff recruitment and upskilling, the Aged Services Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is responsible for maintaining and evolving qualifications and skills within the industry.
Therefore, the weight and expectation of this Budget must not only be the Government’s responsibility but all stakeholders within the sector such as employers, peak bodies, subject matter experts, employees and consumer representatives.
Affordability of aged care
Affordability of care is a primary concern for many Australians. And while the Government has placed a substantial emphasis on increasing care, with the allocation of $3.9 billion to increase front line care and $102.1 million to assign residential aged care places directly to senior Australians, it was disappointing that concerns around the affordability of care was not the Government’s main focus.
The Federal Budget will provide $7.8 billion towards improving and simplifying residential aged care services. This is designed to help senior Australians to access value for money services which include a $3.2 billion support package to deliver better care and services, including food through a new Government-funded Basic Daily Fee supplement of $10 per resident per day.
Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians so it was pleasing to see the Federal Budget invest $67.5 million in Dementia Behaviour Management and Severe Behaviour Response Teams, with $7.3 million to increase capacity for senior Australians living with dementia.
The Government’s investment being made into these social supports and quality care facilities helps not only Dementia patent but all aging Australians within our community.
Until now the Morrison Government has only spoken about providing high quality care to elderly Australians. However, we have established that money is only one part of the solution to address issues within the aged care sector. This budget now sets a precedent for all future leaders of our nation to provide continued support and supervision which will ultimately be the success of providing ‘high quality’ care to our aging population.
See our full Federal Budget Analysis
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