Aged care not a priority for major parties: ACSA

The Greens is the only party to acknowledge the key issues facing aged care as a national priority, according to the federal election scorecard of provider peak Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA).

ACSA election scorecard 2
ACSA’s Federal Election scorecard

The Greens is the only party to acknowledge the key issues facing aged care as a national priority, according to the federal election scorecard of provider peak Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA).

ACSA CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly has called on all candidates and voters to consider what aged care meant to them, their friends and families when they stepped into the polling booth on Saturday.

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As part of its election campaign, ACSA asked the Coalition, Labor and the Greens to respond to three major issues impacting aged care – recent cuts to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI); a transition fund to assist home care providers with reforms; and a national aged care workforce strategy.

ACSA said yesterday that the Greens met all three, Labour fully met one and partially met two, while the Coalition partially met one and failed to meet the remaining two altogether.

Professor Kelly said he was pleased there was some unity from the three parties on the development of a workforce strategy.

“The Greens are in full support and the Labor Party has committed to begin work on a strategy within the first 100 days of office, while the Coalition has undertaken to assist the industry in the development of a strategy,” Professor Kelly said.

However, on the ACFI issue Professor Kelly highlighted that the Coalition would not release its modelling to provide evidence for the $1.2 billion cuts announced in the May Budget while a potential Labor government would and that the Greens supported the sector’s view that the cuts were unjustified and would oppose them.

Regarding the home care transition fund, Professor Kelly noted that the Coalition said the $19.6 million transition funding given to home care package providers in 2015-16 should have addressed the February 2017 changes, which did not recognise additional imposts of the next phases of reform.

The Labor Party supported an immediate review of the reforms and efforts to better understand the sector’s preparedness while the Greens wanted to continue to work with the sector to determine adequate transition support, he said.

“According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), health expenditure in 2013-14 was estimated at $154.6 billion. Yet, $1.2 billion to provide for the complex health care needs of old, frail Australians is somehow excessive and not valid.

“If we fail to take good care of older Australians – at home and in residential aged care facilities – with a workforce equipped for the challenges – the costs associated with their care will balloon as they are forced into mainstream health and medical services,” Prof Kelly said.

Read the highlights of AAA’s election coverage here

Tags: acfi, acsa, election-2016, john-kelly, workforce,

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