Aged Care Act: ‘Let’s get this done’

Older people have waited too long to have their rights legislated, says OPAN chief.

Advocacy groups continue to call on the federal government to deliver the new Aged Care Act as soon as possible.

“Older people have waited too long to have their rights enshrined in legislation,” Craig Gear – chief executive officer of the Older Persons Advocacy Network – told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“This Act needs to get done as soon as possible – it has to get done in 2024. Older people have waited too long for legislation that puts them at the centre of their care where it should have always been focused. Let’s get this done.”

As Mr Gear points out: “It’s been five years since the royal commission, three years since they handed down their report. It was recommendation one, two and three.”

With the Act slated to take effect from 1 July, advocacy peaks are waiting on the government to consider stakeholders’ feedback on the exposure draft, which was released for consultation in mid-December.

Craig Gear

“We’re really pleased that the government has put the exposure draft out, taken on the consultation,” said Mr Gear. “It’s now time to adjust the areas that need adjusting from the exposure draft and get the Act into place.”

Among the adjustments OPAN would like to see relate to issues around transparency of funding. “The other missing part was around the review and appeals chapter,” said Mr Gear. “We think it’s important for older people to understand how – if they don’t feel that an assessment is right or a care plan is right – they can raise those issues and ask for a review of those care plans or those assessments.”

Mr Gear told AAA OPAN is also calling for a robust complaints framework “so that when a complaint is raised it is dealt with as quickly as possible … and for older people to be heard and for providers to then be able to make changes to their services. We’re looking forward to seeing those sorts of elements as [the Act] moves forward.”

Earlier this month, in a submission to government OPAN and 11 other national organisations working with older people detailed other key requirements of a new Aged Care Act. They include:

  • enforceable rights of older people that address the current power imbalance
  • penalties for those found guilty of not upholding the rights of older people
  • a guaranteed right to aged care visitors at all times
  • a strengthening of diversity requirements.

Mr Gear is keen for those requirements to be implemented and for the government to remain committed to the 1 July deadline. “We’re looking forward to seeing the bill in the coming months,” he said. “Getting this bill into parliament this year is really important.”

Comment on the story below. Follow Australian Ageing Agenda on FacebookX (Twitter) and LinkedIn, sign up to our twice-weekly newsletter and subscribe to AAA magazine for the complete aged care picture.  

Tags: aged care act, craig gear, opan,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *