Aged Care Indexation Misses the Mark
30 June 2011 at 2:37 pm
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) says it’s disappointed with the Government’s 1.9% indexation of funding for aged care, describing it as a meagre increase given the current rise in inflation.
ACSA CEO Patrick McClure says aged care providers question how the Government could justify a figure which fails to address rising costs in the sector.
McClure says older people living in their homes and those in residential aged care bear the brunt of funding shortfalls which directly impact on services.
He says that with no additional funding for aged care in this year’s Federal Budget, 1.9% indexation compounds the problem. The Federal Government recently announced the annual indexation adjustment for the sector – up point-2% on last year’s 1.7%.
The ACSA points to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 3.3% in the past 12 months. In the March quarter fuel costs increased by 8.8%, vegetables by 16% and pharmaceuticals by 12.5%.
The minimum wage will rise by $15.51 a week from July 1.
McClure says the rate of indexation was one factor among many identified by the Productivity Commission (PC) as a weakness indicating the need for fundamental reform.
He says real reform is at hand now the PC’s final report is with the Government but the means for aged care providers to maintain and bolster services remain elusive.
The Minister for Ageing has stated that developing fair and sustainable funding arrangements for aged care may be one of the hardest achievements for his Government.
McClure says it will be that much more difficult if there is no action to sustain the industry in the short term.
The ACSA has again called on the Government to restore the additional 1.75% subsidy for residential care services and extend it to community care pending a ‘cost of care’ study proposed by the PC.