Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, congratulates Scott Morrison on his appointment as Prime Minister, replacing Malcolm Turnbull.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the change in leadership presents a clear opportunity to acknowledge ageing and aged care as issues of national importance by appointing a dedicated Minister for Ageing and Aged Care and have them join the Cabinet.
“This appointment would bring the necessary focus and authority needed to effectively meet the changing needs of the growing numbers of older Australians and enable them to age well,” Mr Rooney said.
“It would also assist the Government to address urgent funding and reform issues that are needed to realise a high performing, respected and sustainable age services industry.”
Mr Rooney said Australia is facing a ‘new normal’ as the ‘baby boomer’ generation ages, requiring a major shift in the way we think about ageing.
“The issues of ageing and aged care are of national importance and we need to engage all Australians in what it means to age well in our country,” Mr Rooney said.
“There is no doubt that appropriate funding and delivery of aged care services is a vital issue for the community, older Australians and their families, now and into the future.
“These issues deserve the attention and direct focus of the Cabinet. The national importance of leveraging the advantages, and meeting the needs, of an ageing Australia can no longer be confined to the outer Ministry.
“We call on the incoming Prime Minister to acknowledge this and appoint a Minister for Ageing and Aged Care to the new Cabinet.”
Mr Rooney acknowledged that the Turnbull Government has made some positive inroads to the aged care reform agenda.
“However, more work needs to be urgently done to address fundamental system settings and deliver the funding required to keep pace with the changing needs of older Australians,” Mr Rooney said.
“Our Members’ ability to meet the current and future needs of older Australians and the expectations of the community is being threatened.
“These threats include the rising cost of doing business and the impact of successive funding cuts, particularly on residential care.
“Other issues include the lack of subsidised home care packages available to older Australians, despite this year’s boost to home-care packages, and ongoing issues with attracting, developing and retaining an appropriately qualified and experienced workforce.
“The successful introduction of the new quality standards must also be a high priority for the Scott Morrison led Government.”
Mr Rooney said if we are to meet the needs of the growing numbers of older Australians, we need to have adequate and stable funding.
To ensure older Australians can access services they require:
- An immediate injection of $675 million per annum to respond to the gap between no indexation of residential aged care subsidies in 2017-18 and low indexation in 2018-19.
- An additional $60 million per annum to current home care subsidies to respond to rising costs, as well as review of the overall level of investment to ensure that the roll-out of additional home care packages keeps up with the actual numbers of people in the national queue (currently over 100,000 people).
- Targeted support and appropriate ongoing funding arrangements for those residential aged care providers that are struggling in regional and remote Australia, and
- A sustainable aged care funding strategy that ensures we have an equitable and sustainable aged care system that delivers the services that people need and want into the future.
“The development and implementation of a sustainable funding strategy will ensure care and services are available for older Australians as their needs arise, while also providing certainty, stability and viability for our aged care system for the next decade, and not just the next year,” Mr Rooney said.
“We call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to work cooperatively with the aged care industry to ensure Australia’s aged care system is adequately funded and supported to meet the needs of all older Australians.”