2018-19 Budget Night Summary from May 8, 2018

"The Government’s measures for aged care in today’s Budget are practical but our view is they should form part of a longer-term commitment to the sustainable provisioning of aged care services into the future.” - Pat Sparrow, ACSA CEO.


08 May 2018

Click here to view ACSA's 2018-19 Budget media statement.


Home Care Packages

More Australians are choosing to access aged care in their homes. To support Australians who wish to stay at home, the Government is providing $1.6 billion to support 14,000 additional high level home care packages by 2021 22. This adds to the 6,000 places the Government has provided since the last Budget.

Comment by Pat Sparrow:  “With over 100,000 older Australians waiting for Home Care Packages, the additional 14,000 packages announced tonight (along with the 6,000 packages announced in December) are urgently needed to address some of that demand.” 

Residential Aged Care


•    13,550 residential aged care places and 775 short-term restorative care places in the 2018-19 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) will be released, with a $60.0 million capital investment to support new places; 


- More places and capital via the next ACAR is welcome, if not overdue, as is the examining of the feasibility of allocating future places to consumers.


•    the Government will provide funding of $105.7 million over four years from 2018-19 (including $32.0 million from within the existing resources) to support the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program to deliver additional residential aged care places and home care packages in remote Indigenous communities; 


- ACSA welcomes funding for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program 


•    the Government will provide $0.3 million in 2018-19 for an impact analysis of allocating residential care places to people seeking care, rather than to the providers of that care in response to the 2017 Legislated Review of Aged Care; 
•    the Government will provide $50.0 million over two years from 2018-19 for a Quality Care Fund to improve the quality of residential aged care; 
•    the Government will provide funding of $82.5 million over four years from 2018-19 for mental health services for people in residential aged care facilities; and 


- Additional mental health services for older people is welcomed and corrects what has been a concerning inequity.


•    the Government will provide funding of $32.8 million over four years from 2018-19 for a trial to improve palliative care for elderly Australians living in residential aged care facilities, contingent on matched funding from the States and Territories. 
- Investment in improved palliative care and potential collaboration with states reflects shared interest in this area of core business for residential aged care 

Statement by Pat Sparrow: "ACSA also welcomes the announcement of the Aged Care Approvals Round creating 13,550 residential care and 775 restorative care beds - along with $60 million in capital funding to meet ongoing demand."


Regulation

The Government will strengthen the regulation of aged care services to respect and protect older Australians. 
•    the Government will establish a new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission from 1 January 2019 and will provide $253.8 million over four years from 2018-19 to support the functions of the new Commission; 
- This has been announced previously by the Minister and we wait on further detail as genuine consultation with the industry is important. 
•    the Government will provide $32.6 million over four years from 2018-19 to enhance the regulation of aged care provider quality to better identify risks and respond more quickly to care failures; 
•    the Government will provide additional funding of $8.8 million over four years from 2018-19 to improve the transparency of information on aged care provider quality; and 
•    the Government will provide $8.6 million over four years from 2018-19 to improve the management of prudential risk in residential aged care facilities including through the introduction of a levy to secure accommodation bonds.  
- The introduction of this retrospective levy on providers where defaults are more than $3M in any financial year was unexpected and is a concern.

 

Elder Abuse

The Government is providing $22 million to protect older Australians from abuse, including by funding trials of specialist elder abuse support services.
In addition to developing a National Plan on Elder Abuse, the Government will work with the states and territories to develop a national online register for enduring powers of attorney.

- ACSA believes reducing the incidence of elder abuse across our communities should be a priority.


Rural, Regional & Remote 

The Government will provide capital grants funding of $40.0 million over five years from 2018-19 for aged care facilities in regional, rural and remote Australia.

- ACSA welcomes the injection of additional funds but the challenge of ongoing service funding and workforce remains critical.
Statement by Pat Sparrow:  "The ongoing delivery of residential care in remote, rural and regional communities is absolutely paramount and this can only be achieved with funding certainty into the future."
 

My Aged Care & Consumer Supports

The Government is making it easier for people to navigate the aged care system and access the care that suits them.  
•    the Government will provide funding of $61.7 million over two years from 2018-19 to make the My Aged Care website easier to use and will develop simpler assessment forms for people to access aged care services;  •    the Government will provide funding of $14.8 million over two years from 2018-19 to support preparatory work for a new national assessment framework for people seeking aged care; and 
•    the Government will provide further funding of $7.4 million over two years from 2018-19 to trial navigator services to assist people seeking information about aged care to make decisions that are right for them. 


- Improvements to My Aged Care, simpler forms and trialling navigation support for consumers are overdue and critical to future reform.

Dementia

The Government will provide $5.3 million over four years from 2018-19 for the development of technological solutions to support people living with dementia to better manage their care.

- Innovation and investment in this area needs to be supported and accelerated.


Mental Health and Healthy Ageing 

To enable Australians to make the most of a longer life, the Government is investing in the health of older Australians by providing:
•    $82.5 million for mental health services for people in residential aged care facilities;  
•    the Government will provide funding of $29.2 million over two years from 2018-19 to undertake a trial of support strategies to help older Australians stay independent for longer; 
•    the Government will provide $20.0 million over four years from 2018-19 for a pilot of services led by mental health nurses to target the mental health of older Australians in the community, particularly those at risk from isolation; and 
•    the Government will provide $22.9 million over two years from 2018-19 to encourage and increase physical activity in older Australians. 


- Additional mental health services for older people is welcomed and corrects what has been a concerning inequity however concerned this is only a trial through PHN’s.
 


Carer Support Services

$113.3 million over five years from 2017-18 for a new Integrated Carer Support Services model to provide a range of early intervention and preventative services for carers. The new Integrated Carer Support Services model will consolidate a range of new and existing carer services into a nationally consistent service delivery model. At a local level, a network of Regional Delivery Partners will help carers to access local services such as needs assessment, information and advice, targeted financial support and crisis support where required.

National Housing and Homelessness Agreement

The Government will work with the States and Territories to reform the National Affordable Housing Agreement and provide ongoing, indexed funding for a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) from 2018-19. This agreement will provide an additional $375.3 million over three years from 2018-19 to fund ongoing homelessness support services, with funding to be matched by the State and Territory Governments.


 
Expansion of pensioner loan scheme

Expansion of the pension loan scheme will allow pensioners to borrow against the value of their home and other assets without selling. The measure, in which the government is investing $11 million, will allow all older Australians, including self-funded retirees, to boost their fortnightly income stream to 150 per cent of the Age Pension rate using the equity in their homes.

 

Further Reforms


•    the Government will combine the Residential Care and Home Care programs from 1 July 2018 to provide greater flexibility to respond to changes in demand for home care packages and residential aged care places; and 
- Indicates Government creating flexibility to move places and funds from residential care to satisfy home care demand. 
•    The Government will provide $8.2 million in 2017-18 for a communications campaign to support the package of reforms. 
- Reflects a response to a growing need to promote and educate the public and consumers on the reforms.


Statement by Pat Sparrow: "We want to further this discussion with Government and the community on how best to plan and provide for the future care services needed for our rapidly ageing population.”
 


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