Senator Richard Colbeck has warned that the sector must prepare for more upheaval post-COVID – including the potential to rewrite the 1997 legislation that underpins the sector – in an address yesterday to LASA’s Ten Days of Congress.
In an 18-minute address, Minister Colbeck acknowledged the hard work of providers and staff in the past nine months, but flagged that the sector needs to maintain its vigilance – and prepare for the findings from the Royal Commission’s Final Report.
“We’ve had a difficult year but a lot of the hard work is still to come,” he stated.
Noting that the Royal Commission will hold a two-day hearing later this week to hear submissions on its final recommendations from the Counsel Assisting, the Minister said his objective – and the objective of the Government – is to respond as quickly as possible, particularly resourcing through next May’s Budget.
“What we want to see for senior Australians around this country is the highest possible quality of aged care and that is what I’m expecting the form of the recommendations to take,” he said.
In particular, Minister Colbeck pointed to the need for the system to provide a continuum of care from basic supports through to residential care and reducing the waiting list for home care.
He added that the Royal Commission’s “forensic view” of the sector would indicate how the sector could be resourced and regulated, saying he was “quite comfortable to rewrite the Aged Care Act” as part of the process.
“I don’t want the sector to be over regulated but we have to have appropriate regulation that provides for the care and support of senior Australians,” he concluded.
Watch this space then.