Funding tops budget priorities

Sustainable funding of the aged care sector requires “immediate attention” in the 2023 federal budget, says the provider peak.

Sustainable funding of the aged care sector requires “immediate attention” in the 2023 federal budget, says the provider peak.

It is “crucial the budget address funding” to support a sustainable aged care sector, Aged & Community Care Providers Association said in its pre-budget submission to Treasury.

Tom Symondson

This includes exploring co-contributions for aged care, ACCPA chief executive officer Tom Symondson said in a statement. “Seven out of 10 aged care providers are operating at a loss and the situation appears to be worsening. We need a considered debate on how we fund aged care into the future including the possibility of consumer co-contributions for those who can afford it.”

ACCPA is also calling on the Albanese Government to inject $853 million into the Home Care Packages program to clear the waiting list for 2023-24 ahead of the replacement scheme’s commencement in July 2024.

“This allocation of funds is a critical step to support home care package recipients’ transition to the new in-home aged care program from July 2024, by ensuring that their new support plans reflect approved service levels matched to need,” reads the ACCPA submission.

The budget needs to address the chronic workforce shortage as well, says ACCPA by “funding future pay increases and ensuring aged care nurses receive salaries commensurate with their counterparts in public hospitals.”

ACCPA is also calling for an extension to the working hours of student visa holders beyond 30 June 2023 “until such time the immigration of new aged care workers increases sufficiently to reduce the staffing shortage in our sector.”

Other budget priorities for ACCPA include:

  • the immediate implementation of indexation in line with the Consumer Price Index for all forms of aged care
  • funding for the 215 minutes daily requirement of care to be provided 12 months early, from October 2023, to better support providers to meet the target time
  • immediately addressing the backlog of processing applications to the Covid-19 Aged Care Support Program
  • streamlining the reimbursement process for the new Covid-19 Grant that commenced on 1 January
  • funding of an industry implementation reform plan
  • funding of additional costs for rural, regional and remote providers.

Mr Symondson said the recommendations in ACCPA’s pre-budget submission focuses on what can be established or seeded in the coming year so that a positive impact on the lives of older people can be realistically achieved.

“ACCPA is committed to a collaborative approach, working in partnership with government, consumers, aged care workers and providers to develop solutions to the considerable challenges facing Australia’s aged care sector,” he said.

“Our older people are to be cherished and supported as they age. We want to work to ensure they can live their best lives. It’s what they deserve.”

“Catholic aged care providers have a vital interest in working with the Australian Government.” 

Meanwhile, financial sustainability also topped the list of priorities for the peak body representing Catholic health and aged care providers, Catholic Health Australia in its submission to Treasury.

“To deliver the shared vision of a quality aged care sector for every Australian who needs it there needs to be greater emphasis on financial sustainability and a recognition of the pressures which have been building on the sector for over a decade,” reads the CHA submission.

Among its recommendations, the CHA calls on the federal government to:

  • increase consumer contributions for aged care services, including proper inclusion of housing wealth in means testing – currently capped at just below $200,000 for the primary home
  • deregulate the Basic Daily Fee – currently capped at 85 per cent of the basic aged pension
  • monitor and adjust the new AN-ACC funding model
  • create an aged care innovation fund to support investment.

Workforce pressures are also addressed with the CHA recommending that the government:

  • immediately pass on the 15 per cent interim pay decision by the Fair Work Commission to aged care workers
  • further enhance the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme through industry partnership
  • improves migration settings for care sector workers.

Focusing on Covid-19, the CHA calls on the government to:

  • deliver national agreement and consistency on the Covid response
  • deliver certainty on testing and the provision of personal protective equipment
  • improve the Covid-19 Aged Care Support Grant.

“Catholic aged care providers have a vital interest in working with the Australian Government to ensure the provision of aged care and support services for older Australians meet community expectations of safety and quality of care,” reads the CHA submission.

Its recommendations “address the critical risks in aged care that will affect vulnerable older Australians who are receiving or require aged and community care.”

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Tags: #budget23, ACCPA, budget, catholic-health-australia, featured, funding, submission, Tom Symondson,

1 thought on “Funding tops budget priorities

  1. The immigration of new aged care workers cannot go ahead until accommodation is found for them.Prebaby boomers own their own homes and have a spare bedroo or two. By matching willing pre baby boomers with an aged care worker the govt will a) find suitable accommodation, b) release the children of pre baby boomers back from theur o?night caring role to become productive once more and c) alow new immigrant age care workers to do their placements and learn skills at the same time.

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