Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, acknowledges the MYEFO $850 million investment in another 10,000 Home Care Packages but is calling for a plan for home care and a comprehensive response to residential care, plus a big increase in workforce development across the sector.

“We welcome the new packages – it’s a significant funding commitment – but many more are needed, with the Aged Care Royal Commission rightly describing the home care waitlist as cruel,” said LASA’s Acting Chief Advocate, Tim Hicks.

“We have had a 100,000 plus home care queue for three years now and this is just another down payment on the much broader challenges facing home and residential care.

“We want to work with the Government on a detailed plan to reduce the waitlist and increase the number of high-level packages.

“The Government also needs to urgently support investment in aged care workforce training and recruitment to prepare for likely Royal Commission recommendations to clear the home care queue and expand the number of staff in residential care.

“Immediate investment in the aged care workforce is a no brainer, addressing COVID-19 related unemployment while also allowing vital aged care reforms to proceed more quickly.

“Acknowledging some progress in home care, it is important to call attention to the notable lack of significant investment in the structural problems facing residential aged care.

“The Royal Commissioners described the aged care system as in ‘crisis’ in late 2019 and independent reports have shown average viability of residential homes has worsened in 2020, especially with the pandemic.

“Counsel Assisting said aged care providers are being squeezed and must choose between financial viability and providing the level of care that’s the minimum standard required to support their residents ‑ an impossible situation.”

The Royal Commission’s COVID-19 inquiry identified inadequacies and immediate actions to cope with COVID-19 and the Senate Inquiry said the Government had ‘failed to properly prepare the aged care and disability sectors for the pandemic’.

“We want to know what the Government is doing in the long term to ensure quality care for the over 200,000 people in residential care homes,” Mr Hicks said.

“With the Royal Commission final report due at the end of February 2021 we must see a comprehensive response not more Band-Aid solutions.”

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