Aged care reforms unlikely to be in budget

As reported by The Australian, the significant reforms to address the economic challenges facing Australia’s aged care sector are unlikely to feature prominently in next Tuesday’s budget.

Despite receiving the Aged Care Taskforce report in December 2023, the government has not yet finalised its position. The proposals include increased individual contributions for care and means-testing for home and residential aged care. However, sources suggest that the government is still working on its response hoping to achieve bipartisan support for key measures.

“The taskforce has conceded the industry is underfunded and won’t meet future demands of an ageing population. Anything less than full adoption of those recommendations means we have been playing charades for a year.”

Chris Mamarelis, Chief Exective Officer, Whiddon

With over half of residential aged-care providers operating at a loss, there is growing urgency for reform. Industry leaders stress the need for comprehensive adoption of the taskforce recommendations to address the sector’s underfunding and meet the needs of an ageing population.

While the budget may not directly address these recommendations, it is expected to include announcements regarding home care packages and plans for funding wage increases for aged-care workers. Last month’s ruling by the Fair Work Commission will see direct care workers’ hourly wage increase by 18 -28%, including the 15% awarded earlier.

Despite the delays, stakeholders emphasise the importance of getting the reforms right through bipartisan collaboration to ensure a sustainable, high-quality aged care system for older Australians.


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