Calls to elevate Minister for Aged Care to Cabinet
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) congratulates Scott Morrison on his appointment as Prime Minister and calls for a dedicated Minister for Ageing and Aged Care in the Cabinet.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said, “This appointment would bring the necessary focus and authority needed to effectively meet the changing needs of the growing numbers of older Australians and enable them to age well.
“It would also assist the Government to address urgent funding and reform issues that are needed to realise a high performing, respected and sustainable age services industry.”
Mr Rooney said Australia is facing a ‘new normal’ as the ‘baby boomer’ generation ages, requiring a major shift in the way we think about ageing.
“There is no doubt that appropriate funding and delivery of aged care services is a vital issue for the community, older Australians and their families, now and into the future,” Mr Rooney said.
“These issues deserve the attention and direct focus of the Cabinet. The national importance of leveraging the advantages, and meeting the needs, of an ageing Australia can no longer be confined to the outer Ministry.
Mr Rooney acknowledged that the Turnbull Government has made some positive inroads to the aged care reform agenda.
“However, more work needs to be urgently done to address fundamental system settings and deliver the funding required to keep pace with the changing needs of older Australians,” Mr Rooney said.
“Our Members’ ability to meet the current and future needs of older Australians and the expectations of the community is being threatened.
“These threats include the rising cost of doing business and the impact of successive funding cuts, particularly on residential care.
“Other issues include the lack of subsidised home care packages available to older Australians, despite this year’s boost to home-care packages, and ongoing issues with attracting, developing and retaining an appropriately qualified and experienced workforce.
“The successful introduction of the new quality standards must also be a high priority for the Scott Morrison led Government.”
To ensure older Australians can access services they require:
- An immediate injection of $675 million per annum to respond to the gap between no indexation of residential aged care subsidies in 2017-18 and low indexation in 2018-19.
- An additional $60 million per annum to current home care subsidies to respond to rising costs, as well as review of the overall level of investment to ensure that the roll-out of additional home care packages keeps up with the actual numbers of people in the national queue (currently over 100,000 people).
- Targeted support and appropriate ongoing funding arrangements for those residential aged care providers that are struggling in regional and remote Australia, and
- A sustainable aged care funding strategy that ensures we have an equitable and sustainable aged care system that delivers the services that people need and want into the future.
“We call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to work cooperatively with the aged care industry to ensure Australia’s aged care system is adequately funded and supported to meet the needs of all older Australians,” Mr Rooney said.
25 August 2018.