Colbeck rejects claims on lack of consultation over new Aged Care Act

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Senior Australians and Aged Services Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck has rubbished claims by 25 peak bodies that he is not consulting about the proposed new Aged Care Act.

The coalition of the 25 peak bodies, which includes the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), Council on the Ageing, Dementia Australia, National Seniors, Carers Australia and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association, are seeking a commitment that the Act will enshrine rights for seniors as recommended by the Royal Commission.

OPAN CEO Craig Gear, speaking on the coalition’s behalf, said there was concern about the lack of discussion with the Federal Government.

In March, the Federal Government announced that work would begin on a new consumer-focused Aged Care Act which, subject to parliamentary process, will commence on 1 July 2023.

The new Aged Care Act will provide the foundation for system-wide reform of aged care and establish the legal framework for an aged care system designed to improve outcomes for seniors.

In its response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect, the Federal Government accepted recommendations 1 to 3, which relate to:

  • the new Aged Care Act,
  • the rights of older people receiving aged care, and
  • key principles underpinning the new Act.

“The Department of Health is working with drafters from the Commonwealth Office of Parliamentary Counsel on the new Act. Implementation of Royal Commission recommendations 1-3 will be informed by the expertise of Commonwealth legislative drafters as well as consultation with the new Council of Elders and the National Aged Care Advisory Council,” said a spokesman for Mr Colbeck.

“The Department engages with the sector through a number of regular meetings. This includes a weekly meeting between Minister Colbeck and sector peaks, at which the CEO of LASA has a standing invitation.

“The Department has held a series of interactive webinars since June on the reforms, which attracted thousands of participants. The department’s new Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub is an open, central source of information where the sector and community can see the department’s current engagement activities. Anyone interested can also sign up on the Hub to be involved in future engagement activities that will inform the implementation of the reforms. There are currently eight consultations open for feedback (as at 17 November).“