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Greater aged care choices for older Australians.

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Media Release Ms Julie Bishop MP Minister for Ageing

8 April 2004 JB053/04

Greater aged care choices for older Australians

Older Australians will have even more choice when entering residential aged care following the announcement today by the Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop, of 1,230 new Extra Service status places across Australia.

“Older Australians are increasingly expressing a desire for aged care services that meet their individual needs as they get older,” Ms Bishop said.

“The Australian Government is helping providers offer greater choice by approving Extra Service status for facilities that meet stringent guidelines of service.

“The aged care sector is responding to this Australian Government initiative to provide more flexible services to meet the needs of older Australians.

Ms Bishop made the announcement during a visit to Wearne Hostel for the Aged in Cottesloe, Western Australia. Wearne Hostel has received approval to offer Extra Service in 38 of its low care places.

“Older Australians and aged care providers have expressed growing interest in Extra Service places. For example, the more than 300 new Extra Service places announced for Western Australia today means that there are now more than 750 Extra Service places available in this state.

“Extra Service increases diversity and choice in the aged care sector by allowing people to make additional payments to receive additional services,” Ms Bishop said.

“The Australian Government’s national legislated accreditation system ensures all Australians have access to high quality aged care.

“Extra Service status also encourages innovations in residential aged care by providing an incentive for aged care providers to improve the standard of care on a continuous basis.”

Extra Service status is part of the Australian Government’s vision for world class aged care that delivers high quality, affordable, accessible services to meet the individual needs of older Australians.

In realising this vision the Australian Government has already delivered:

● a 100 per cent increase in funding for aged care, from $3 billion in 1995/96 to $6

billion in 2003-04; ● more than 55,600 new aged care places;

● the first ever national legislated standards to improve the quality of care and

accommodation; ● substantial increases in services, such as meals on wheels and community nursing,

to meet the wishes of older people to remain in their homes as they age. This includes a more than 820 per cent increase in funding for Community Aged Care Packages, which provide low-level care at home; ● a five-fold increase in support for carers, through more respite services, counselling

and advice.

Media contact: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7280 or 0417 265 289