The new Support at Home Program was scheduled to start in July 2023, replacing the Commonwealth Home Support Program, Home Care Packages Program and Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) Program.
Following concerns raised by a number of stakeholders, the govt has reverted to the 1 July 2024 start date originally proposed by the Aged Care Royal Commission.
Minister for Aged Care the Hon. Anika Wells said the previous government altered the timeline for the new in-home program, against the recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
“In the past two months, I have heard repeatedly that the Morrison government’s rush-job on home care put people in who are receiving home care at risk. I’ve heard this from peak bodies such as ACCPA, COTA and OPAN, and from individual providers.”
“With respect for the complexity involved, the Royal Commission recommended delivery of a reformed and improved in-home aged care program by 1 July 2024.
“The Morrison Government compressed the timeline by a full 12 months and provided insufficient information to manage the enormous changes required.
“In-home care, on which more than 1 million Australians rely, is not an area in which to make policy on the run. The Albanese Labor Government know this and we are committed to getting it right.”
“We are returning to the Royal Commission’s recommendation of 1 July 2024, and taking the time to address the concerns instead of rushing to failure.
“We will use the extra time wisely to work with older Australians, their families and carers, workers, advocates and providers to do everything we can to achieve a better in-home aged care system.
“Most people want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, so it’s imperative that reforms to in-home aged care bring genuine improvements for older Australians in the long and short-term,” Minister Wells said.
“Rest assured no one will be left behind or lose any services they currently have in place in this new timeline. If anything, with more than $9.5 billion in funding this financial year going towards in-home care support, older Australians will see real improvements in in-home care support well before July 2024.”
An additional 40,000 Home Care Packages will be made available this financial year.
The Government will also immediately increase funding by $25 million and expand access to goods, equipment and assistive technology to better support older Australians to remain independent in their homes and reduce out-of-pocket expenditure.
“The Albanese Labor Government is absolutely committed to putting older Australians first as we reform the aged care sector,” said Minister Wells.