Key announcements included 14,000 new high-level home care packages over four years, the addition of 13,500 residential aged care places and a capital investment of $60 million to support new places.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said while these are all steps in the right direction, Australia is facing a ‘new normal’ as the ‘baby boomers’ generation ages and this Budget does not provide the system settings and the funding levels to meet the growing demand.
“The Budget provides some good news for older Australians seeking care in their own home with more than 14,000 new high-level home care packages funded over four years, following on from the extra 6,000 high-level packages delivered in the second half of 2017,” says Mr Rooney.
“Safety and quality in aged care are not negotiable and we also welcome the Government’s budget announcement of $50 million for residential aged care funding to transition to a new quality regime.
“Measures to support ageing-well, including mental health, active ageing and a pensions loan scheme, are particularly welcome, along with specific measures to support the provision of aged care services in rural communities, such as $40 million for infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.”
Other aged care initiatives announced in the 2018-19 Budget include:
While these budget initiatives individually, and collectively respond (in part) to the growing demands for age services in Australia and are welcomed by the industry, Mr Rooney says that it was hoped that it would also map out the longer term needs of Australia’s ageing population.
“This Budget does not adequately address the growing complexity of residents’ needs, changing consumer and community expectations, and rising operating costs, which are all placing increasing financial pressure on residential care providers and the overall aged care system,” says Mr Rooney.
“Ultimately, what Australia requires is the development of a long-term, sustainable funding strategy to ensure that the needs of older Australians can be met,” Mr Rooney said.
“We need a strategy that will resolve aged care funding for the next two decades as our country transitions to supporting the ‘baby boomer’ generation to age well.”