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$2.6 million in funding boosts to support aged care consumers


National consumer and advocacy bodies the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Council on the Ageing and the Older Persons Advocacy Network are the latest recipients of funding in the Morrison Government’s post-budget cash splash.

These announcements follow one on Saturday that allocated new funding to national provider peak bodies UnitingCare Australia and Aged & Community Services Australia to lead remote workforce initiatives (read more here).

FECCA will receive more than $290,000 in 2019-20 to continue to represent culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people at a national level in the aged care sector, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced on Tuesday.

The funding is a 12-month extension of the current grant agreement, which was due to end on 30 June.

FECCA Chairperson Mary Patetsos said the funding was critical in helping older CALD Australians overcome the barriers they face in accessing aged care services.

“Those challenges include awareness of available services, language and cultural barriers and issues with accessing technology,” Ms Patetsos said.

“It’s also important for many older Australians from CALD backgrounds to be cared for by someone who understands their cultural background.”

She said the funding would help FECCA continue its work in advocating for older people from diverse backgrounds so that all Australians could exercise their right to quality aged care.

Royal commission support

On Monday, Mr Wyatt announced seniors advocacy COTA will receive up to $350,000 to support aged care consumers being heard at the aged care royal commission.

He said the Morrison Government recognised the royal commission would place additional strain on the resources of aged care consumer peak bodies like COTA.

“This additional funding will allow COTA to engage with the royal commission as effectively as possible on behalf of the people they represent,” Mr Wyatt said.

The funding will support:

  • maintaining ongoing discussions with representative groups around the royal commission
  • distilling information about consumer experiences, views and interests into clearly defined issues for the commission’s attention; and
  • working with consumers and advocates about how their submissions to the royal commission can be applied to policy options and proposals from the consumer perspective.

National advocacy program

The government also announced on Monday an additional $2 million in funding for the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) to deliver the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP).

NACAP provides free, confidential and independent advocacy support to consumers seeking or receiving government-funded aged care services.

OPAN, which is funded to deliver NACAP until 30 June 2020, delivers the services through its network of nine organisations around Australia.

Phone calls to the service have increased since the program became national in 2017.

This funding boost is in addition to the $28.9 million OPAN has already been allocated and aims to help maintain the availability of advocates and continue their strong approach to delivery of individual advocacy services, Mr Wyatt said.

Senior Australians, their families or carers in need of aged care advocacy should go to opan.com.au or call 1800 700 600 between 8am-8pm Monday to Friday.

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