Around 3 in 10 older people have been waiting more than 12 months for their required level of care, new government data shows.
The Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt released the third home care data report on Friday, which for the first time included information on the time consumers have spent waiting on the national queue.
According to the report, 28,000 older people have been waitlisted for more than a year and almost all are waiting for a level 4 package.
Nearly all were receiving an interim package while they waited for their assessed level of care.
A further 27 per cent (28,000 older people) had been waiting between six and 12 months for their assessed package, the data showed.
At 31 December, there were 104,602 people on the national queue, an increase of 3 per cent on the previous quarter.
The Department of Health continued to advise older people with a medium priority that the wait time for a high-level package was more than 12 months and six to nine months for Level 1 and 2 packages.
Around 46 per cent of people on the national waitlist were assigned or receiving an interim package.
The department said strong approval volumes were driving growth in the size of the queue.
The report showed nationally 82,000 older people were on the queue for a high-level package, up from 79,000 at the end of September.
Over 31,000 people were approved for home care in the December quarter.
Consumers in care
Despite the large number of packages being released into the national pool, the number of consumers in care has increased by only 2.7 per cent (1,933 consumers) since the home care reforms started on 27 February.
At 30 September 2017, there were 74,205 consumers in a home care package, up from 72,272 in February 2017.
Of the consumers who exited a home care package during the September quarter, the median time in care was 12 months and the maximum time in care was 21 years, the report said.
Around 4 per cent of consumers in care exited each month during the quarterly reporting period.
Huge growth in market players
The number of industry players continues to rapidly expand reaching 806 approved providers at the end of December, up 61 per cent from mid-2016.
In the last quarter alone, the number of new providers increased by 5 per cent.
The department does not provide data on how many of these new home care providers already delivered some form of aged care.
Read the report in full here.