The industry peak bodies have expressed collective disappointment in the Government for ruling out changes to the annual and lifetime caps, as well as including the full value of the owner’s home in the means test for residential aged care.

 

In response to the release of the legislated review, ACSA described the recommendations as a “mixed affair”, with CEO Pat Sparrow warning more investment is needed to meet demand for home care along with additional – not fewer – financing options. 

 

“The release of this report affords an opportunity for a broad discussion about the sort of care the community, particularly older Australians, expect and how it will be financed into the future,” Ms Sparrow said.

“That’s why it was disappointing to see the Government rule out any changes to the annual and lifetime caps, as well as including the full value of the owner’s home in the means test for residential aged care.”

“By ruling out these two financing options, the Government is limiting its own ability, as well as that of providers, to respond to the changing needs of Australia’s rapidly ageing population.”

“With around 1.3 million older Australians receiving some form of aged care (in 2015-16) and that number set to grow Australia needs to have a sustainable, flexible and quality aged care system. This means we need our Parliament, the community at large and the aged care industry to be part of the discussion and the solutions.”

The Aged Care Guild said the Government’s response needs to focus on a sustainable funding strategy for the long
term aged care needs of Australians.

CEO Cameron O’Reilly said “just  as the Government has legislation before the parliament aimed at securing a long-term
funding deal for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) through a higher Medicare levy, it has to embrace the recommendations of its independent reviewer about how we fund the massive growth in aged care needs in a rapidly ageing society”.

“Aged care funding overwhelmingly goes to employing and developing the aged care workforce of over 350,000 people who do an outstanding job in caring for older Australians in the home or in residential facilities. Funding and quality of care for
residents are therefore closely interlinked,” he said.

““How we sustainably fund the growth of care services and care workers with a mix of public and private funding is one of the key questions facing the country and Mr Tune’s sensible recommendations have put this issue firmly on the national agenda.”

“The Guild urges a continuation of the bipartisanship that has characterised aged care policy since 2013 and encouraged the Government and Opposition to use the Tune Review to sit down and reconsider how they are going to ensure there is a sustainable, growing and consumer-driven aged care sector which is able to meet demand out to 2050, when it is forecast that Australians aged 85 or over, the key demographic for aged care, will grow from 2% of the population today to 5%.”

Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said: “While LASA understands the sensitivities of any potential changes to consumer contributions for age services, the Government’s approach to ruling out any consideration of changes to life time caps and means tests involving the family home, shuts down much needed discussion on how to fund the system now and into the future.”

“LASA calls on the Government to reconsider LASA’s previous proposal to develop a sustainable funding strategy for the aged care system in order to ensure certainty and stability for consumers, providers and Governments. Without this, it is not clear how we can adequately plan and deliver a system that will meet the needs of older Australians into the future.”