News

Aged care legislation passes both houses of parliament

Wednesday 26th June, 2013

Five bills have passed both houses of parliament today marking a historic achievement for the Federal Labor Government’s $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms.

Minister for Ageing Mark Butler said the changes to the Aged Care Act 1997 passed today are part of a 10-year plan to build a better, fairer, sustainable and nationally consistent aged care system to meet the challenges of the nation’s ageing population.

“This legislation is the culmination of years of hard work not only by the Government, but also aged care stakeholders, the Productivity Commission and thousands of older Australians who assisted in the development of these reforms.

“The Federal Labor Government’s aged care reform plan will deliver more choice, easier access and better care for older Australians, their families and carers.” Mr Butler said.

Mr Butler said that with an ageing Australian population, these reforms would ensure the aged care industry was equipped to deal with dramatic growth.

“This is the first time in a generation that we have seriously addressed the shortcomings of our existing aged care framework.

“We are replacing an aged care system designed a quarter of a century ago and which is now ill-equipped to meet the needs of retiring baby boomers and their parents who are living longer and healthier lives.”

Key aspects of the reforms include:

  • Consumer Directed Care packages rolled out nationwide providing people more control over the care they receive.
  • Almost $1 billion in new funding for home care which will see the number of home support packages almost double from 60,000 to 100,000 over five years.
  • Tailored care packages to people with dementia receiving home care, and new funding to boost dementia care.
  • Increased funding to residential aged care with 30,000 new places over the next 5 years and $480 million for aged care homes to significantly upgrade their facilities.
  • $1.1 billion to deliver higher wages, better conditions and more rewarding careers for the nation’s 350,000 aged care workers.
  • A single gateway to all aged care services, to make them easier to access and navigate.

Mr Butler said the Government was pleased the legislation had passed both houses of parliament and said that this achievement would sit alongside the Federal Labor Government’s major achievements including DisabilityCare and the National Plan for School Improvement.

“I’d like to thank all those consumer representatives, aged care providers and unions who have demonstrated their commitment to these reforms and worked tirelessly to bring the whole community behind them.

“This package reflects what older Australians, their families and carers, and aged care providers have told us they wanted through extensive consultations, along with the valuable input of the Productivity Commission.”

Information on the Living Longer Living Better package can be found at www.agedcareaustralia.gov.au