Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, acknowledges the Budget investments in aged care to meet the needs of older Australians and hopes this will be the start of ongoing investment and reform to ensure we have the best possible system to care for and support our valued elders.

LASA asserts that the issues of ageing and aged care are issues of national importance and the Budget acknowledges this through the investments announced today.

“Hopefully, this Budget is just a start, a down payment on a better age care system” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“We are committed to having the world’s best aged care system as we look towards the Aged Care Royal Commission’s final report in February next year.

“The Royal Commission has heard that the policy, regulation and resourcing that underpins Australia’s aged care system has not kept pace with the needs of older Australians or the expectations of the wider community.

“We need to transform the aged care system so older Australians get the care they need, and the workers and organisations that care for them are enabled to deliver the best quality care and services possible.

“Evidence to the Royal Commission has recently highlighted deep structural problems with funding for aged care.

“While this Budget does not address all of these issues, it does lay a platform for the future.”

For example, the $1.6 billion commitment to an extra 23,000 Home Care Packages is vital to help older Australians age in place, raising the number of packages to 180,000.

“Our elders deserve this because the vast majority want to continue living in their own homes as they age,” Mr Rooney said.

“We hope this will help drive down people’s wait times for packages at their assessed level, which has been heartbreakingly up to two years or more.

“We ask the Government to keep on investing in extra packages to meet peoples’ needs and make sure they have timely support for the care they require.

“While this boost to home care is valuable, we re-iterate our offer to work with the Government on a detailed, long-term plan to reduce the wait to no more than three months.”

Funding included in the Budget for COVID-19 responses is welcome but represents only a partial continuation of measures for the first six months of the pandemic.

“As we have said before, protecting older Australians receiving care and support in our aged care system from COVID-19 is a national responsibility and we believe more investment is required,” Mr Rooney said.

“Looking ahead, it is incredibly important that Australia builds on these investments, not just to fix the aged care system but to provide a significant contribution to our nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic,”

“We have almost 4 million people aged 65 and over and this growing fast and is forecast to more than double in 30 years.

“The latest employment projections show our ageing population is a key driver of jobs growth and we have long advocated for more workers in aged care.

“Extra workforce to help aged care residents receive visitors in a safe way is critical for their wellbeing and we want to see funding for these levels of staffing, as recommended by the Royal Commission.

“The increase in Medicare Benefits Schedule items for mental health and support for residents is also important.”

About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)

LASA is the national association for all providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living/seniors housing. Our purpose is to enable high performing, respected, and sustainable age services that support older Australians to age well by providing care, support and accommodation with quality, safety and compassion – always.

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, 56% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 36% are for-profit providers and 8% 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.

Contact: Nick Way 0419 835 449 nickw@lasa.asn.au