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$20 million to improve care for older Australians.



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Warwick Smith, MP

Minister for Family Services

Federal Member for Bass

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

WS68/98

22 July 1998

 

$20 million to Improve Care for Older Australians

 

Federal Minister for Family Services Warwick Smith has announced 100 grants to nursing homes a nd hostels across Australia totalling $20 million to improve building and safety standards.

 

“The 100 services being assisted to build, rebuild or upgrade their homes for frail aged people are predominantly in rural and regional Australia,” Mr Smith said.

 

The two largest grants in the capital funding program are:

 

* $1.3 million to the Australian Red Cross Society Nursing Home in Katherine, Northern Territory, to assist in rebuilding the home after damage by floods earlier this year; and

 

* a total of $1.3 million to various Victorian Bush Nursing Hospitals to upgrade and refurbish services for older people at Avoca, Hastings, Mornington, Murchison, Nagambie, Natimuk, Neerim, Pyramid Hill and Violet Town.

 

The program builds on initiatives the Government to ok last year to secure the capital funding base of aged care services through private contributions.

 

In addition to capital support, the Federal Government spends around $3 billion annually in public subsidy funding for residential aged care.

 

Mr Smith said the Government recognised the need for targeted public support for facilities unable to obtain finance for building or upgrading.

 

“Quality standards and safety in all aged care services must improve over the next ten years if we are to meet the expectations of older Australians.”

 

“Building the aged care infrastructure needed by our nation must be the responsibility of a broad partnership across the community. The Government believes taxpayers’ resources should be targeted to areas of highest need and not wasted on general programs as in the past,” Mr Smith said.

 

Priority for funding has been given to those homes which have demonstrated an inability to self-fund urgent works. Eighty per cent of the funds are being allocated to regional and remote areas, and 20 per cent to homes in urban areas which also care for high numbers of financially disadvantaged people.

 

Most of the funds are being allocated to those homes requiring urgent work to meet mandatory fire safety standards. Substantial funding has also been provided for rural or remote services to better cater for residents with specialised care needs so as to keep residents in their local area.

 

Contact: John Wilson (02) 6277 7240, 0412 437 317.

 

 

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FUNDING PRIORITIES

Minimum requir ement

 

In the assessment of applications for residential care grants it was a minimum requirement that more than 50% of residents are or will be concessional and assisted residents.

 

The amount by which the minimum requirement of more than 50% of residents are concessional and assisted resident is exceeded was considered.

 

Principal requirements

The principal criteria in determining funding priorities were:

(i) the need for the capital works; and

(ii) the need for additional funding.

 

Other requirements

All applications which meet the minimum requirement were assessed competitively against the following criteria:

 

* the location of the service, with priority given to rural and remote services;

* measures to be taken to ensure continuity of care for affected residents;

* whether there is an urgent need for building, rebuilding, renovation or restoration work to be carried out to meet Commonwealth, State or local government fire, safety, health or occupational health and safety standards;

 

priority consideratio n was given to facilities which have not met the Commonwealth Government's certification requirements, for example, a significant number of services, particularly in Victoria, were selected for funding to improve fire safety systems;

 

* whether there is an urgent need for building, rebuilding, renovation or restoration work to be carried out because of fire, flood, earthquake or other unforeseen circumstances, for example, the rebuilding of a hostel in Katherine, NT;

* the need to provide care for persons w ith special needs, for example, people with dementia;

* the effect of the age and condition of the facility on the provision of quality care; and

* value for money - whether the outcome was justified in relation to the amount sought.

 

 

KD