Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, says today’s announcement of a $662m funding boost is welcome recognition by the Federal Government that additional resources are needed to effectively care for older Australians.
CEO Sean Rooney says the age services sector particularly welcomes the Government’s decision to get on with the job of making the system better right now, whilst the Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety commences its important work tomorrow.
“The $320 million residential aged care component, which equates to approximately $1,800 per permanent resident over the next 18-months, is especially welcome as a short-term measure, given recent reports estimating that 43% of aged care facilities are operating at a loss.
“Equally, the 10,000 additional home care packages announced will also go some way to easing pressure on the home care wait list, which provides all important choice for older Australian and their families.”
Mr Rooney said the announcement of funding to trial a new funding tool acknowledges that the current approach is inadequate.
“It is the core funding arrangements for the sector, and how the funding tool is able to respond to the true cost of care, that has been our biggest ongoing concern.
Mr Rooney said any trial should also include research on staffing models to ensure a better understanding of the mix of nursing, personal care, allied health and other staff that will best meet the growing and changing needs of older Australians in residential care.
He said the sector has also been proactively preparing for the introduction of the new safety and quality standards from 1 July and welcomes measures to ensure the industry is operating with integrity and delivering the best possible quality of care and value for money for older Australians across both residential and home care settings.
“LASA looks forward to opportunities to further discuss the detail about the rollout of today’s funding announcement,” he said.
Mr Rooney said the upcoming Federal Budget (2 April) will provide a further opportunity for the Government to deliver on a program that provides levels of funding that effectively meet the increasing costs and growing demand for age services.
“This is the only way we can guarantee a sustainable age services sector that meets the growing and changing needs of older Australians in all types of care settings.”
LASA has detailed a list of funding priorities in its Budget submission to the Government, along with a range of measures to free up funding for age services without any cost to the Budget and vital research required to drive reform in the sector.
Mr Rooney says LASA is fully supportive of the Royal Commission process which commences tomorrow.
“It is important that the Royal Commission be open and transparent and provide a forum for all involved in the aged care system to tell their stories with regard to their experiences.
“We all want a safe, high quality and high performing aged care system. Older Australians need it and older Australians deserve nothing less.”
About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)
LASA is the national peak body representing and supporting providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living. Our purpose is to enable a high performing, respected, and sustainable age services industry delivering accessible, affordable, quality care and services for older Australians.
We represent providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Consistent with the overall industry profile, 57% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 33% are for-profit providers and 10% are government providers.
Our diverse and representative membership gives LASA the ability to speak with credibility and authority on issues of importance to older Australians and the age services industry.