Aged care is a bright spot in this year’s budget
12 May 2021 at 11:12 am
The aged care sector was one of last night’s winners with Frydenberg saying the government is committed to restoring trust in the system
During his budget speech on Tuesday night, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced $17.7 billion in “practical and targeted new funding” for the aged care sector over the next five years.
Frydenberg said that the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety had revealed shocking cases of neglect and abuse.
“We will strengthen the regulatory regime to monitor and enforce standards of care and we will upgrade essential aged care infrastructure in regional and remote areas,” he said.
Over the next two years, there will be $6.5 billion to fund 80,000 new home care packages, which the government says will clear the current waitlist by taking the number of packages to 275,000 by 2023.
From 1 July, the basic daily fee paid to providers will increase by $10 per resident, per day, at a cost of $3.2 billion, an amount recommended by the aged care royal commission as the minimum amount necessary to keep the struggling sectors afloat.
From next year, residents will for the first time begin receiving a mandatory daily minimum of 200 minutes with a care worker and 40 minutes with a registered nurse.
“This package brings our record investment in aged care to over $119 billion over the next four years. We are committed to restoring trust in the system and allowing Australians to age with dignity and respect,” Frydenberg said.
Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said that after years of neglect she felt that aged care was the biggest bright spot in the budget.
“For years, aged care has been treated as an afterthought – or worse, as a burden. Instead of fixing the system, government after government has made quick fixes and band-aid solutions. Now the system will be overhauled, and the system will be equipped to give older people the care they deserve,” she said.
“We look forward to working with the government to roll out the reforms.”
However, Carolyn Smith, aged care director of United Workers Union, felt differently. She said the budget gave the illusion of action on aged care but that it failed to address fundamental issues facing the sector.
“Given 42 per cent of the sector is not profitable – while others are wildly profitable – it looks a lot like a bailout package rather than caring for older Australians,” she said.
“In-home care clearing the waiting list over two years simply means older Australians will continue to die on the waiting list.
“Scott Morrison has broken his promise for a comprehensive response to the aged care crisis by rejecting the royal commission’s recommendation that the home care wait list be cleared by the end of the year.”