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Retirement

Aged care funding falls short of ‘once-in-a-generation reform’

  • May 14 2021
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Retirement

Aged care funding falls short of ‘once-in-a-generation reform’

By Cameron Micallef
May 14 2021

The “once-in-a-generation” reforms have fallen short of the measures required to fix the neglected sector, industry experts have said.

aged care funding

Aged care funding falls short of ‘once-in-a-generation reform’

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  • May 14 2021
  • Share

The “once-in-a-generation” reforms have fallen short of the measures required to fix the neglected sector, industry experts have said.

aged care funding

The government has said that it will spend $17.7 billion over the next five years to help fix the broken aged care sector, describing it as a “once-in-a-generation reform”.

The funding injection is in response to the aged care royal commission that ended in March, which revealed chronic underfunding resulting in severe cases of neglect for older Australians.

In response, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced big-ticket items, including more than $3 billion for a $10 Basic Daily Fee supplement and $6 billion to tackle the home care waitlist with 80,000 new home care packages.

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He also promised to increase the time nurses and carers spend with patients and to support over 33,000 new training places for personal carers and a new Indigenous workforce.

“We will provide retention bonuses to keep more nurses in aged care,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“We will increase access for respite services for carers.

“We will strengthen the regulatory regime to monitor and enforce standards of care.”

However, most of the dollars are set to flow in 2023-24 ($5.5 billion) and 2024-25 ($5.5 billion).

Mr Frydenberg said this package brings the government’s investment in aged care to more than $119 billion over the next four years. Moreover, according to the government, they’ve accepted or accepted in principle 123 of the 148 recommendations made by the royal commission. 

“We are committed to restoring trust in the system and allowing Australians to age with dignity and respect,” the Treasurer said. 

However, as critics have pointed out, the government has fallen short of fully funding the aged care royal commission's findings, which state the sector will need a cash injection of $9.8 billion a year.

RACP spokesperson Dr John Maddison said the $6.5 billion investment in Home Care Packages is a positive move, but that more funding across the board may be required to achieve the big picture reform that the aged care system needs.

“The additional funding in the budget represents a much-needed boost to aged care. Whether it will be enough to completely address the recommendations of the royal commission is unclear,” Dr Maddison said.

“The fact is, the royal commission identified a $9.8 billion annual shortfall existing in aged care. Now we’re looking at approximately an average of $3.4 billion additional per year, for five years.”

While Dr Maddison pointed to underfunding, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese went a step further, blaming the government for ongoing underfunding. 

“Take aged care, they have adopted some of the recommendations to the aged care royal commission, issues of hours in which nurses and carers should be able to see aged care residents,” Mr Albanese told the ABC.

“What they haven’t done is do it on the same time frame. There’s not the next stage. That was seen to be the first step. There is nothing there also about wages in terms of aged care workers.”

Aged care funding falls short of ‘once-in-a-generation reform’
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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