In April 2012, the Australian government announced ‘Living Longer Living Better’, a package of aged care reforms in response to the Productivity Commission recommendations of August 2011.
The Living Longer Living Better reforms are contained in five legislation Bills which are currently before the Australian Parliament:
They are the:
- Aged Care Living Longer Living Better Bill 2013.
- Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Care Bill 2013.
- Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013.
- Aged Care (Bond Security) Amendment Bill 2013.
- Aged Care (Bond Security) Levy Amendment Bill 2013.
A copy of the Bills is available at: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills
In March 2013, the Senate referred the Aged Care Bills to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 17 June 2013. The ANF filed a submission which is available at: http://anf.org.au/pages/anf-submissions and participated in the public hearings before the Committee in May. A copy of the transcript of the public hearing is available at: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committee
A key component of the aged care reform package is to lift the wages of nurses and other care staff. The additional funding, to be known as the Aged Care Workforce Supplement will be available from 1 July 2013 to aged care providers who meet certain eligibility requirements which importantly include a requirement to enter into an enterprise with improved wages and better employment conditions. The enterprise agreement currently in place will require amendment to ensure they comply with the Workforce Supplement provisions.
The Department of Health and Ageing has issued draft guidelines on the provisions relating to the Workforce Supplement and are asking stakeholders to provide comments and feedback on the proposed arrangements by the end of May 2013.
Senior Federal Industrial Officer