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Aged providers seek out high care places from Australian Govenment in the upcoming ACAR Round allocations.

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Minister for Ageing


February 2, 2009

Aged Providers Seek Out High Care Places from Australian Government in the Upcoming ACAR Round Allocations

The Australian Government today released a break-down on applications for nursing home places - showing providers are overwhelmingly seeking high care beds in this year’s Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) 2008-2009.

The Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot today released data showing that two-thirds of the residential aged care places sought were high-level care.

“Aged care providers have applied for high care places in droves,” Mrs Elliot said.

“Of the almost 14,000 applications seeking places, almost 9,300 were for high care” Mrs Elliot said.

Updated residential aged care application data for the 2008-09 Aged Care Approvals Round by care level*

State/Territory High care places Low care places Total places

NSW 2,612 1,144 3,756

Victoria 3,589 1,898 5,487

Queensland 2,169 1,243 3,412

WA 415 122 537

SA 373 203 576

Tasmania 29 24 53

ACT 112 23 135

Total 9,299 4657 13,956

* - These figures differ slightly from the January 3 data - as they take into account ACAR applications received after the deadline, but were clearly post-marked before the cut-out or where applications sent to other Department of Health and Ageing state offices.

Mrs Elliot said Australia was well placed to respond to the challenges of an ageing population.

Over the next three years, the Rudd Labor Government would create more than 37,000 new aged care places. This builds on the 221,144 aged care beds and community care places already operational.

“Australia is ready for its ageing population and there is clearly enough aged care places for the community’s need,” Mrs Elliot said.

Mrs Elliot said the Australian Government has comprehensive plans like its Zero Real Interest Loan program to target areas of undersupply like Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. In Tasmania and WA, the Australian Government has already offered $16.1 million and $46.6 million, respectively in loans.

The next round of the loans would further target these States as well as the Northern Territory - where no applications for residential places were received in the ACAR.

“No Australian Government has provided more support to residential and community care. Over the next four years, funding for aged and community care will reach record levels of more than $41.6 billion -- with $29.5 billion of that on residential aged care alone,” Mrs Elliot said.

This means that over the next four years, the Government will be providing an average of $43,000 for every aged care home resident in Australia.

Currently, there are some 2.8 million Australians - about 13 per cent of the population - aged 65 and over. This number is expected to triple in 40 years.

The current life expectancy is 81.4 years and by 2060, an Australian woman can expect to reach the age of 90 on average.

NOTE: Decisions on ACAR places are made independently by the Department of Health and Ageing. Assessments of the applications are underway and final decisions are expected by mid-year.

Details: (02) 6277 7280 or Kathryn Conroy 0448 249 447