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Budget 2018: Extra home care packages and other welcome aged care measures will provide relief for older Australians



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COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians,

representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.

MEDIA RELEASE 9 May 2018

Extra home care packages and other welcome aged care

measures will provide relief for older Australians

Australia’s leading seniors’ advocacy organisation, COTA Australia, has welcomed 20,000 new

high-level home care packages for older Australians over the next four years and measures to

make our aged care system easier to navigate for consumers.

COTA Australia Chief Executive Ian Yates said the 14,000 additional packages added to 6,000

announced in MYEFO, together with increases already in the Budget projections, will mean an

additional 34,000 Level 3 and 4 Packages over the next four years - an increase of 86 percent.

“With 60,000 people currently waiting for a package more clearly needs to be done but this will

make a substantial difference,” Mr Yates said.

The government will also allocate an additional 13,500 residential aged care beds.

“Being supported to age at home is the clear preference of older people in need of regular support

in their daily lives and critical to their physical and mental well-being,” Mr Yates said.

“If they are not able to access Home Care Packages on a timely basis many people are forced into

residential aged care prematurely, or end up in hospital - neither of which are the best outcome

for them and actually cost governments more than care at home.”

Home care funding is the centerpiece of the government’s aged care reform package announced

in tonight’s Budget.

The budget papers indicate over the forward estimates the total number of home care packages

will be 151,500 by 2021-22 - an additional 63,910 packages, compared to current 2017-18

numbers (including the extra 34,000 high-level home care packages).

Mr Yates said following COTA Australia’s Mental Health for Older Australians petition in 2017

COTA Australia particularly welcomes the $102.5 million for older Australians mental health

services including $82.5M for older Australians in residential care and $20M for Australians over

the age of 75 years living in the community.

“We thank Ministers Hunt and Wyatt for championing equitable access to mental health services

for older Australians,” said Mr Yates

Other key measures include:

∞ $7.4 million over 2 years to trial Integrated Consumer Supports, including help for older

Australians to navigate aged care, in some case with help by other older Australians.

∞ $14.8 million for a new assessment framework and a combined assessment workforce to

make accessing aged care faster, simpler and more consistent around Australia.

∞ $253.8 million over four years to establish the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

∞ $32.6 million over four years to enhance the regulation of aged care provider quality to

respond more quickly to care failures

∞ $8.8 million over four years to provide transparency over aged care provider quality

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians,

representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.

∞ $105 million for culturally safe aged care services in remote Indigenous communities

∞ $32.8 million over 3 years for extra palliative care in residential aged care to ensure people

can die in their place of choice

COTA notes that residential aged care providers will be provided with $50M over two years to

implement the new Aged Care Quality Standards which include a much stronger focus on

“consumer outcomes”.

“Critical to implementing the new aged care standards will be incorporating older Australians and

their families into residential aged care quality processes,” Mr Yates said.

“We hope this Government funding will ensure best practice in this area is developed over the

next 12 months.”

“COTA is very concerned that the recommendation of the Carnell and Paterson Aged Care Quality

Review, to have a Consumer Commissioner who will ensure that resident and family engagement

is embedded in Standards compliance and quality improvement, is being sidelined in the

Government’s plans for the Quality and Safety Commission.

“We will continue to exert pressure for this important recommendation to be implemented in one

form or another, and if necessary we will pursue this during the legislative process to establish the

Commission.”

Mr Yates said COTA also applauded the Government’s combining of the residential and home care

funding from July 1, 2018 to create greater flexibility to respond to changing needs.

“We also strongly welcome the government’s announced support for changing residential aged

care so that funding is in the hands of consumers and high quality providers will be allowed to

expand to meet demand from people who want to access their service, and the commitment of

funds to plan for this to happen,” Mr Yates said.

“However this change needs to be decided and legislated well in advance of the next Budget.

“This already happens with Home Care Packages and until then our residential care system will still

be controlled by bureaucrats and providers and it is past time that older Australians should be able

to choose their provider and the location of where they live, as repeatedly recommended by

major reviews.”

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439; Corey Irlam 0401 738 996; Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280