ACSA calls for action to prevent aged care becoming the next ABC

Following the ABC Learning Centres collapse, industry leaders have warned that immediate action is needed to prevent a similar scenario occurring in the aged care sector.

There have been comparisons made between the early childhood care sector and the aged care industry, and fears voiced that unless the aged care sector gets the attention it needs, there could be a catastrophe ahead.

“Some child care commentators have pointed to features of the aged care system, such as bed licensing as a model for avoiding the problems that developed in the child care sector,” said Greg Mundy, CEO of Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA).

“Some 40% of residential aged care services are currently operating in the red and many of our members have put expansion plans on hold because the cost of new buildings far outstrips the payments from Government and residents.”

On present demographic projections the number of Australians aged 85 and over will rise from 330,000 in 2006 to 580,000 in 2021, and then to a staggering 1.6million by 2051.

“With an ageing population we can’t afford to stand still. We need to grow to match the growth in demand. New facilities are needed and the capital to build them is just not there under current policies. We are struggling to attract and retain staff not least because the Government’s subsidies don’t allow us to pay competitive salaries,” said Mundy.

“Unless things improve the Government could face a problem that makes the ABC Learning one look small by comparison. Government needs to talk to the industry, and to act, to make sure that this doesn’t happen.”

An investment in aged care could be a valuable part of economic stimulus but if it’s not properly funded it can’t happen. “

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