The Government has announced an additional 6,000 home care packages will be made available to support older Australians with higher care needs in response to the aged care legislative review.
The announcement follows the public release of the final report by David Tune AO, which made multiple recommendations for improvements to My Aged Care and additional home care packages.
In a joint press release, the Ministers for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt and Ken Wyatt, responded to some of the recommendations in the report and reiterated that support for aged care consumers will be streamlined through a $20 million investment in the My Aged Care information system, to improve public access, especially for rural, regional and remote clients.
It is unclear if the $20 million investment is in addition to the funding announced for improvements to My Aged Care in the 2017 Federal Budget in May.
The statement also announced that information from the new national home care priority queue is now available to consumers, providing clarity and allowing the Government to track demand for home care and adjust supply where required.
While the Department had previously committed to releasing data about the national queue for home care packages in July, providers remain in the dark on how many people are in the queue or which areas have high demand.
In response to the Tune review, the Ministers said:
“The Turnbull Government welcomes the review which was required under legislation and will consider the recommendations. However, we do not support recommendations 13 and 15.”
“The Government will not include the full value of the owner’s home in the means test for residential care, nor remove the annual and lifetime caps on means-tested fees.”
“As the recommendations are worked through, one of the primary considerations will also be to ensure improved aged care services to allow older Australians to continue living in regional, rural and remote areas.”
“The Government will consider the Tune Review’s findings and recommendations, in the context of work underway by a taskforce in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, examining ageing more broadly.”
“The Productivity Commission recently forecast Australia will need almost one million aged care staff by 2050, a skilled workforce is essential to support quality care and continuing reform.”
“A detailed aged care workforce strategy will be produced by a taskforce, to be chaired by Professor John Pollaers, supported by a $2 million 2017-18 Budget commitment.”