ACIC: More money needed now

With reform still years away, the Aged Care Industry Council has detailed how it wants the government to address funding issues in the short term.

By Stephen Easton

The Aged Care Industry Council (ACIC) has called on the federal government to alleviate funding pressure on the sector through this year’s budget, and has outlined three key ways that it can do so.

ACIC recommends restoring the 1.75% Conditional Adjustment Payment and extending it to community care services, increasing the amount of Extra Service places from 15 to 30 per cent and upping the minimum accommodation charge for aged care by $10 per day.

The Productivity Commission has advised extensive changes to the sector, including removing the distinction between high care and low care and doing away with Extra Service places, but most of the wide-ranging reforms won’t take effect for several years to come.

“In the interim the sector must be supported to ensure a healthy and solid foundation to support a successful transition to a new system better able to offer more choice and improved access,” ACAA CEO Rod Young and ACSA Acting CEO Pat Sparrow said in a joint statement.

“ACIC’s submission acknowledges the current competing and compelling pressures on government spending but stresses that aged care services are at a critical juncture as Australia prepares for unprecedented growth in the numbers of older Australians.”

Mr Young said that with costs exceeding incomes across the sector, the three interim measures were designed to help redress the shortfall, which he said was nothing new for providers.

“It’s just a reality we live with.  It’s one of the reasons for recommending the 1.75 per cent subsidy be reinstated, so the actual annual index – the additional money the government will pay – is more reflective of the actual cost increases being sustained,”  Mr Young said.

“An Access Economics from 2009 recommended that the accommodation charge should be raised to about $41 per day.  We think that asking for $10 more as an interim measure is not unreasonable.” 

“Given that the average payment is less than 22 dollars a day, that goes nowhere near meeting the costs of construction.  At the moment there’s almost no investment into stand alone facilities.”

The suggestion to increase the proportion of Extra Service places to 30 per cent is touted as a way of raising short-term money to “support or kick start the building program that is urgently required,” according to ACIC’s budget submission document.

“The limit on proportions for each region is artificial and does not account for different socio-economic characteristics,” the submission contends.

ACIC’s submission also calls for an industry-wide study into the cost of residential and community care, in line with a similar recommendation made by the Productivity Commission in their recent draft report, Caring for Older Australians.

Tags: acaa, acic, acsa, aged-care, ageing, budget, pat-sparrow, rod-young,

1 thought on “ACIC: More money needed now

  1. Criminals get looked after better than our old people no matter what their status of the aged. From what I have seen in aged care the old people are better off in the gutter a lot of the times. I’d like to see other Australians working for $17.00 an hour as an assistant where there is no time to look after the needs of these people the way they and society expects them to be looked after.

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