Not for Profit Sector Welcomes Aged Care Overhaul
20 April 2012 at 5:41 pm
Not for Profit organisations around the country have welcomed the Gillard Government’s announcement to overhaul Australia’s aged care system.
The response from aged care providers has been largely positive for the government’s aged care package, which will see $3.7 billion spent on the reforms over a 10 year period.
Council of the Ageing chief executive, Ian Yates, said that today’s announcement signals the beginning of a new era of care and support for older people and their families.
“The package provides far greater support for older people to be to be able to age at home, a plan to tackle dementia and a Compact to improve pay and conditions for aged care workers,” Yates said.
Aged and Community Services Australia also welcomed the announcement. “ACSA is particularly pleased with the emphasis in today’s announcement of supporting people in their own homes and greater equity in the way people fund their aged care support and accommodation, while ensuring access by those with lesser means,” Rob Hankins, ACSA President, said.
However, Hankins said it will be that residential care remains sustainable and today’s announcements will need further detailed consideration to ensure that this will be the case.
“It is fundamentally important that Government and the sector understand the actual cost of providing care – in a number of diverse settings and for people with diverse needs – so that the funding is right to provide high quality care and appropriate remuneration for nurses and care staff,” Hankins said.
National Secretary of United Voice, Louise Tarrant, said that the government’s announcement put workforce at the centre of the aged care reform process and ensured elderly Australians and aged care workers can begin to have a more positive outlook on the future of the industry.
“Australia faces a shortage of 100,000 aged care workers over this decade,” Tarrant said. “We are pleased that the government has acknowledged that it must address this shortage – which is at the core of the problem in aged care.”
“This $1.2 billion package will lift wages and begin to attract workers back to the industry and encourage others to stay,” Tarrant said.
Meanwhile, Catholic Health Australia chief executive, Martin Laverty, said that while the announcement has been welcomed by CHA, improvements to care quality will “take some years to deliver”.
"Over time, the number of people accessing care will also improve. Today, 113 people per thousand aged over 70 are able to access care. Over 10 years, that number will increase to 125,” Laverty said.
“The Government didn't go as far as we'd wanted to make aged care an entitlement to all assessed as in need, but more care places over the coming years, particularly in a person's own home, is welcome."
And in response to the government’s plan to tackle dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia President, Ita Buttrose, said the package showed that the government has not only listened to people with dementia but have responded comprehensively to their priorities.
“The Government’s decisions are both a reward and a relief to those 280,000 Australians with dementia and their 1.2 million carers,” Buttrose said.
“There remains a concern about increasing the level of investment in dementia research but this is an issue that Alzheimer’s Australia will be pursuing vigorously through the Minister’s review of Scientific and Medical Funding in Australia.”
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