The previously announced Aged Care Taskforce will serve as a time-limited body, providing expert advice to the government through the Minister for Aged Care. Its primary objective is to advise on funding arrangements and propose reforms that ensure a fair, equitable, and sustainable aged care system for all Australians.
It is important to note that the Taskforce is not a decision-making or funding body itself but will offer crucial recommendations to the government. The key focus areas for the Taskforce’s advice include promoting continuous improvement, ensuring high-quality care, fostering innovation, and creating a sustainable sector capable of delivering consistent, top-notch care for generations to come.
This week I chaired the first official meeting of the Aged Care Taskforce.— Anika Wells MP (@AnikaWells) June 23, 2023
How aged care is funded is critical to make sure older people have access to equitable, innovative and high quality care.
I'm looking forward to working with this group of advocates, leaders and experts. pic.twitter.com/sJXewZt0vE
The Taskforce aims to provide the government with options for consideration and a recommended package of reforms by December 2023. Additionally, it will offer interim advice in October 2023. The government will carefully consider the recommendations put forth by the Taskforce, as they play a vital role in shaping the future of aged care in the country.
Among the specific areas the Taskforce will address are funding and contribution approaches to support innovative care delivery, fair means testing for older individuals accessing residential and in-home aged care, determining service types included in the new in-home aged care program, consumer contributions for in-home aged care, and reforms to pricing and funding of hotel and accommodation costs in residential aged care.
The Taskforce may also consider other related issues that arise during its work, ensuring a comprehensive examination of the aged care system and its various components.
The establishment of the Aged Care Taskforce comes in response to the government’s commitment to delivering much-needed reforms in the sector, aimed at restoring dignity to aged care and treating older Australians with the respect they deserve. The government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has already set the groundwork for foundational reforms, including enhanced regulation, transparency, and choice.
The Taskforce will be chaired by the Minister for Aged Care, who may appoint a proxy to chair meetings if needed. Taskforce members comprise experts and policy leaders representing various sectors, with a shared commitment to advocating for the best interests of older people and Australia’s aged care system. Members comprise:
Minister Wells (Chair)
Nigel Ray PSM (Deputy Chair)
Rosemary Huxtable PSM
Professor Tom Calma AO
Margaret Walsh OAM
John Watkins AM
Mary Patetsos AM
Mike Baird AO
Janine Walker AM
Confidentiality and conflict of interest will be strictly managed, with members required to sign confidentiality agreements and declare any real or perceived conflicts of interest. The Taskforce discussions will be confidential to facilitate open and unbiased deliberations, and all documents will be assumed confidential unless stated otherwise by the Chair.
Meeting administration will be handled by the Chair, who will lead the meetings and guide the Taskforce’s work. Monthly meetings are planned, with a duration of 3-5 hours, and a forward schedule will be developed to accommodate potential rescheduling. Meeting materials will be distributed in advance, and both in-person attendance and videoconferencing options will be available to members. Key discussion points and action items will be summarized and distributed within five days following meetings, while a communiqué will be prepared after each meeting for dissemination to interested parties.
By the end of its tenure in December 2023, the Taskforce aims to reach a consensus on final recommendations to the government. The Chair will note any dissenting views, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of various perspectives. Departmental officials may attend meetings at the Chair’s request to provide relevant expertise and support.
With the Aged Care Taskforce in place, the government is poised to make informed decisions regarding aged care funding and reforms. This initiative signals a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to improve the aged care system and meet the changing needs of older Australians.