Immediate and sustainable long-term funding for aged care topped the list of issues at an industry event in Sydney this week.
Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney addressed more than 40 aged care sector executives and board members at an industry briefing on Thursday.
Mr Rooney highlighted the key issues facing the sector in the areas of access, funding, quality and workforce including declining occupancy and the increasing number of financially vulnerable providers in the residential care sector.
He said the latter was evidenced in data released by StewartBrown last week that showed 41 per cent of residential providers reported a loss for the second half of last year (read more here).
Mr Rooney said the government has given every indication there will be an aged care package in the budget, which should offer some relief.
“I think there will be significant change in the budget that will start to impact on those trends and figures,” he told the audience.
The Federal Government indicated in December’s mini-budget that it would respond to David Tune’s review of aged care reform and the Carnell-Paterson review of aged care quality in the May Federal Budget (read more here).
Mr Rooney said his conversations with bureaucrats in Canberra indicated there would be a lot of measures providers would like along with some that they won’t.
The peaks previously expressed concerns about some of the quality-related recommendations proposed by Carnell and Paterson.
Mr Rooney reiterated calls made by LASA and fellow industry peaks last week for a long-term funding solution to support the care of older Australians (read more here).
“We need to have a national conversation and a funding strategy that looks at the funding for the next two decades, not just the next few years,” Mr Rooney said.
“That has to bring into play things like new insurance products, home equity release, tax concessions and increasing the Medicare levy. All of those things need to be on the table.”
The Sydney event was the second in a national series running in the lead up to the 2018/19 Federal Budget in partnership with superannuation fund and aged care advisors First State Super.
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