More than $3.7 million in new grants have been awarded to 18 providers of indigenous aged care in five states and the Northern Territory to make changes that improve the lives of their residents, the Federal Government has announced.

The funding allows providers to make buildings more culturally-appropriate, refurbish or upgrade living spaces for clients or staff, buy necessary equipment for kitchens or laundries and meet medical or security requirements.

The grants come under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program in response to funding applications and have been provided to aged care services in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt said the flexible aged care program was designed specifically to improve services to elderly indigenous people, mainly in remote locations.

“These grants will provide practical assistance to 18 aged care providers to improve the lives of their elderly care residents,” Mr Wyatt said.

“They will ensure that buildings are appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural activities, customs, ceremonies and family visits.”

He said the Government’s reform vision was to deliver integrated aged care services to small regional and remote communities and not just major centres.

Aged & Community Services Australia CEO Pat Sparrow said improving services for indigenous people and ensuring an integrated system across Australia was important.

“The delivery of aged care in remote and rural areas has a higher cost base compared to the rest of Australia which is driven by the unique demands of those areas.

“Additional support to aged care providers in these locations working with one of the most vulnerable groups in Australia is much needed.”

Grants available to convert low care places

An additional opportunity for expansion funding worth $2.5 million in total is currently open to existing providers of the flexible aged care program.

Grants for up to $500,000 are on offer for providers of indigenous residential aged care to change existing low care places to high care places where there is a demonstrated need in the community.

Applications close 27 July.

See the department’s tenders and grants page here for more information.

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