Government Announces Aged Care Reforms
20 April 2012 at 1:47 pm
The Gillard Government has today announced a $3.7 billion overhaul to the aged care system.
In what the Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler, has called the “most sweeping reforms” in more than 30 years, the reforms include $54.8 million in funding to support carers, 80,000 new home care packages by 2021-22, and $270 million to address dementia.
The Gillard Government says it will deliver the $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better plan over 10 years to deliver more choice, easier access and better care for older Australians and their families.
Prime Minister Gillard says the plan will come into effect on July 1, 2012.
The government says that under the changes, more people will get to keep their home, and more people will get to stay in their home as they receive aged care.
A breakdown of the funding includes:
- $1.9 billion to deliver “better access” to aged care services
- $1.2 billion over five years to tackle critical shortages in the aged care workforce
- $80.2 million to improve aged care linkages with the health system
- $54.8 million to support carers
- $268.4 million to tackle the nation’s dementia epidemic
- $192 million to support the diverse care of Australia’s ageing population.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds welcomed the new arrangements and said the reforms put older Australians at the centre of a new aged care system.
Commenting after a briefing from the Prime Minister and Minister Butler, Hatfield Dodds said today’s blueprint invests in the core components of a fundamentally reshaped aged care system that will deliver better care to older Australians now and as their needs change.
“More and better support to age at home, and a simpler and fairer financing system are the keystones of the new system,” Hatfield Dodds said.
Hatfield Dodds said that the focus on alleviating workforce pressures was “welcome”.
“$1.2 billion will go a long way to delivering higher wages, better training and professional development, and improved career pathways,” she said.
“The reform package invests in the structural transformation required of aged care that will ensure a better life and better care for older Australians.
However, the nearly $270 million allocated to address dementia is just over half of Alzheimer's Australia’s call for $500 million to redress the issues earlier this month.
The Not for Profit community will now spend the coming days assessing the detail of the reforms.
“We look forward to being part of implementation planning,” Hatfield Dodds said.
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