What to expect from the royal commission public hearings

Providers will be able to keep up with the proceedings of the royal commission via webcast, as more detail about the process of the inquiry was shared at the opening hearing last week.

Speaking last Friday, Dr T McEvoy QC said the public hearings, together with roundtables and community consultations, will be conducted throughout this year and into next year.

“We plan for them to be held in each State and Territory capital city and also in regional centres throughout the country. We hope that community roundtables will be held in more disparate locations and the Royal Commission will release details of these opportunities as soon as they can be organised.”


“At each of the public hearings, including the first, we hope you will be able to hear from people receiving care or, where more appropriate, from their close relatives or friends. Later hearings, as well as learning about the lived experience of people, will explore particular issues.”

“Without intending to limit the areas for inquiry we expect the following will be covered: young people living with disability in aged care residential services, access and inclusion, including availability and affordability of care, together with diversity issues, including aged care for indigenous Australians and LGBTI Australians. The treatment of people with dementia, including physical and chemical restraints, staff ratios and training and the potential for diversionary therapy and behavioural supports, person-centred care, including complex care needs, mental health, nutrition, choice, family involvement and end of life care.”

Responses to loneliness and neglect and the role of community visitation, as well as quality and safety systems and the regulatory framework, including causes of and responses to mistreatment, neglect and substandard care are also expected to be covered.

Access to and navigation of the aged care system, including accommodation bonds, transitions, interface between health and aged care services and home care will be addressed too.

Dr McEvoy also listed remote rural and regional issues relating to aged care, future challenges, demographics, complex care needs, the demand profile, workforce issues and delivering quality care in a sustainable way, including staffing ratio implications, fiscal issues, sustainable investment in workforce and infrastructure, innovation and, where appropriate, improved use of technology.

Details of public hearings will be published on the Royal Commission website in advance of each hearing and will include the scope and purpose of the hearing.

Some hearings may focus on case studies, each of which will be used to explore topics connected with the case study, Dr McEvoy said.

At the time the details of a hearing are published, applications for leave to appear will be called for. Applications must be in writing, using the form available on the Commission’s website. The process for seeking leave to appear is outlined in practice guideline 3.”

Transcripts of all public hearings will be published on the website as well as information about the dates, times and locations. Public hearings will be webcast and accessible from the Royal Commission’s website – https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au

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