$40 a day: Govt’s $10 a day increase to the Basic Daily Care Fee only a fraction of food budgets

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Signature Care Founder and CEO Graeme Croft is among the many operators spending well above the average on food who say the $10 supplement will simply come off a marginal bottom line.

As we reported here last week, the first quarterly reports on food and daily living services is due by 21 October to ensure residential providers can receive the $10 a day increase to the Basic Daily Fee – currently set at $52.71 per resident per day.

The funding is still a significant chunk of change, adding up to millions of dollars for some larger operators.

For example, for Japara Healthcare with its 6,000 residents, the increase equates to $21 million a year in extra funding.

But in a sector that is under-funded, operators say the $10 will make little difference to providers’ balance sheets and net profit/loss performance.

“The $10 a day is swallowed up in the funding to meet the 2.5% pay rise plus the 0.5% superannuation increase that we had to provide this year,” said Graeme.

Signature provides a large variety of meals cooked fresh seven days a week including a cooked breakfast daily and culturally appropriate meals.

This comes at a cost of around $40 per resident per day with contract caterers, which includes food and labour, but excludes supplements, dining room staff and the cost of running their internal cafés.

Other operators also report similar costs.

The reality is providing a quality food service requires investment – which some operators cannot afford to make.

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