COTA: Federal Government announced ‘comprehensive package of aged care reforms’

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COTA Australia has delivered its final verdict on the Federal Budget’s aged care reform package, saying it “is generally very pleased with and encouraged by” the measures.

“The Budget includes a substantial Aged Care Reform package in the form of a detailed response to all the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety,” said COTA in its latest policy alert.

“Most of the Royal Commission’s recommendations have been accepted – most as recommended, others with some variation. A few have been rejected (some because there was conflict between the two Commissioners over key issues) and some others are to receive further consideration.”

COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates believes consolidation of aged care services needs to happen quickly, with up to a third of operators to go, he told the LEADERS SUMMIT in March.

COTA Australia said over 75% of the funding allocated over four years in the Budget package is for just three measures:

  • Immediate investment of $6.5 billion to address the critical need for home-based care through the release of 80,000 additional home care packages over the next two years.
  • Mandatory care time standards and reporting in residential care. This will increase care time for residents to an average of 200 minutes per day (including an average 40 minutes of Registered Nurse time) and for a Registered Nurse to be onsite for a minimum of 16 hours per day, at a cost of $3.9 billion.
  • Funding uplift for Residential Care. This includes a new Government Basic Daily Fee (BDF) supplement of $10 per resident per day at a cost of $3.2 billion, and continuation of previous 30% increases in the homeless and viability supplements.

Other substantial initiatives included:

  • New face-to-face services navigation and information services available in up to 325 Services Australia service centres. Funding includes the establishment of a network of 500 local Community Care Finders to improve engagement with vulnerable older Australians. This is a key COTA-led initiative.
  • Funding to support informal carers particularly to increase the availability of respite services.