Fresh approach to funding

ACIC has told the Federal Government that aged care construction will hit a brick wall without “sweeping changes”.

With talk of bonds in high care back in the headlines, the aged care industry has called on the Federal Government to join the Opposition in its willingness to look at new and flexible ways of financing aged care.

The Aged Care Industry Council (ACIC) has warned that without “sweeping changes”, it will be impossible to build new nursing homes.

Adding to the sense of concern is a widespread fear that the 1.75 per cent ‘top up’ Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP) will not be continued beyond June.

So far the Minister for Ageing’s office has refused to comment on the future of the CAP.

ACIC spokesperson and CEO of Aged and Community Services Australia, Greg Mundy said it was time for a fresh approach to financing care for Australia’s frail, elderly population.

“We have had a series of patch-up solutions to the problems of charging for aged care accommodation,” he said.

“These date back to the former Government’s back down on refundable accommodation deposits in 1997.”

“None of these patch-ups, including the measures that came into effect this March, address the two fundamental issues of raising sufficient capital to cover the cost of buildings and seeking contributions from residents on an equitable basis.”

ACIC colleague and Aged Care Association Australia CEO, Rod Young said the key issue is finding a fair and sustainable balance between Government and customer contributions.

“Whether people pay this in the form of a weekly rental or through the refundable deposit system known as Accommodation Bonds is less important than the principle of an adequate and equitable payment,” he said.

One option put forward by ACIC is a deferred payment system in which people pay for their accommodation from their estate with the interest cost included.

“A ‘safety net’, for those who can’t afford to pay, must remain an integral part of the system too,” said Mr Mundy.

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