The federal Coalition government will further boost support for older Australians with an injection of $106 million for better facilities, better care and better standards in aged care.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will receive a further $16 million to police quality; boost specialist response teams for complaints, audits and compliance; and support consumers when failures occur. We are introducing legislation into Parliament to establish the new Commission to address known failures in quality regulation for Australia’s aged care system.
While the overwhelming majority of aged care providers continue to do the right thing, there are some instances where standards are simply not up to scratch. Let’s be clear – any organisation or person doing the wrong thing will be found. Sub-standard care will not be tolerated, including the option to shut down an operator doing the wrong thing.
The Coalition government will also bring forward $90 million to support aged care providers, with significant funding rolling out this financial year. We recently announced $40 million to support aged care services in regional, rural and remote locations ensuring the aged in these locations receive the same support as those in cities, and I have encouraged local providers to apply for funds.
We will fund $50 million to support residential aged care providers and their staff to improve quality and standards of care across the sector. Funding will begin to flow next week. This will support 2700 aged care homes and 366,000 staff in new training as they transition to the new, strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards – to be enforced from 1 July 2019 – the first upgrade of these standards in more than 20 years.
The package gives older Australians more choices and greater flexibility, including: Boosting home care funding by $1.6 billion; Growing home care packages from about 87,000 to 151,000 by 2021-22 - including a 34,000 increase in high-level packages; Allowing pensioners to earn more without reducing their pension; Greater flexibility to use home equity to increase retirement incomes.