Labor to Fix the Aged Care Crisis

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Article by 

Rachel Lane

During the election campaign, Albanese’s Labor government promised to “fix the aged care crisis”

In the first weeks of the new Labor government, they have introduced two bills, one of those bills has already passed. Additionally they have ordered a review of aged care regulator.

“We are wasting no time getting on with the job with fixing the aged care system.”

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese

The first bill

The Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 seeks to legislate many of Labor’s election promises. It will mandate a registered nurse to be on-site at an aged care home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The bill will also introduce reporting requirements to address the “lack of accountability and transparency” identified by the Aged Care Royal Commission.

The measures include publication of how much aged care providers spend on care, nursing, food, administration and profits, the levels of care time provided and details of key personnel/staffing.

This bill will also enable the government to cap management and administration fees charged by home care package providers.

“This legislation demonstrates our commitment to making public what aged care providers are spending their money on, ensuring a fair and transparent system for our older Australians and their families and carers.”

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells

The second bill

The Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022 contains 9 measures that seek to address 14 recommendations on measures from the Royal Commission. These include:

  • a new residential funding model to commence from October 2022.
  • a star ratings system which will see The Department of Health and Aged Care publish a comparison for each aged care home by the end of the year.
  • a new code of conduct for providers their workforce and governing persons.
  • greater government oversight on the use of Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RAD’s).
  • extending the period of liability for operators and key personnel who misuse RAD’s prior to an insolvency event.

“Publishing Star Ratings for residential aged care homes will help people meaningfully compare services to make the right choice for themselves or their loved ones.”

Minister Wells

The review of the regulator

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission who are charged with protecting and improving the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life for older Australians receiving aged care services, will examine whether the Commission is “fit for purpose”. The review will consider whether the Commission has the appropriate resources, skills and clinical knowledge to meet its responsibilities and keep older Australians safe.

“Australians told us that quality and safety in aged care is of utmost importance, and the Albanese Labor Government is progressing this review.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is responsible for protecting and improving the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life for older Australians receiving funded aged care services. It is critical that the Commission is fit for purpose.”

Minister Wells

The Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee which is due to provide a report on August 31. The review of the regulator is likely to take longer with the report expected in the first half of 2023. By contrast, the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022 was introduced on 27 July. It was passed days later by both houses on 2 August, a lightning speed reform.

The proposed changes will make available information to prospective residents and their families. This is information not currently disclosed. This is information that is important when deciding which aged care home you want to move to. It shows whether or not the price represents good value.

In theory they will deliver more transparency and more care for the price you pay. This means you get more bang for your buck.

However, the proposed changes don’t address the fundamental financial issues. These are the longer-term funding and the anomalies of the means testing arrangements. These issues are critical to ensuring older Australians receive quality aged care. They contribute to the cost of that care in a way that is fair and affordable.

Labor Government to Fix the Aged Care Crisis


Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese

“We are wasting no time getting on with the job with fixing the aged care system.
“The introduction of this legislation is the first step towards delivering new funding, more staff and better support to the sector, while improving transparency and accountability.

We are using this first sitting week of the 47th Parliament to take important first steps towards fixing aged care and protecting vulnerable Australians, while addressing the challenges in our economy. “

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler

“We’re delivering on our commitment to putting nurses back into nursing homes and improve transparency in aged care.

Every person with a loved one living
in residential aged care expects, is the peace of mind in knowing aged care residents have access to clinical care from a qualified, registered nurse when they need it, 24 hours a day, every day.

This legislation delivers on the Government’s major reform agenda to protect the safety, dignity and wellbeing of every older Australian accessing aged care services.”

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