The application round for new residential aged places will open next month with aged care in rural, regional and remote communities named as the priority areas, the government has announced.

As detailed in last month’s Federal Budget, the 2018 Aged Care Approvals Round includes 13,500 residential aged care places and 775 short-term restorative care places nationally plus $60 million in capital grants for aged care developments.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced the opening of the 2018 ACAR at the RSL Remembrance Village in Wagga Wagga today.

Minister Wyatt said the ACAR would open on 2 July but was being announced now to provide prospective applicants more time to prepare detailed proposals.

“While all applications are welcome and will be independently assessed on their merits, special consideration will be given to non-metropolitan areas through the application process,” Mr Wyatt said.

The focus on regional, rural and remote aged care follows a recent national consultation involving a wide range of aged care stakeholders including local shire councils and community organisations, who were asked to highlight residential aged care needs.

Mr Wyatt said this was the largest number of residential places to have been made available in a single ACAR.

However, the 2018 ACAR will be the second ACAR in three years.

The combined 2016-17 ACAR, which was finalised in May last year, provided 9,911 new residential aged care places.

The 2015 ACAR, which was the last funding round for home care packages, included 10,940 residential places and 6,445 home care places.

Mr McCormack, who is Minister for Infrastructure, said this ACAR would build on the Turnbull Government’s support for regional, rural and remote Australians.

“We are passionate about ensuring all Australians have access to quality aged care services regardless of where they live but we know that regional, rural and remote communities often face challenges, compared with our cities,” said Minister McCormack.

The ACAR application period will open for six weeks from 2 July until 10 August.

Further information about ACAR funding is available on the Department of Health website.

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