Public policy think tank Grattan Institute says the Federal Government needs to spend an additional $9.8 billion a year on recommended aged care reform measures.

Grattan Institute released a report this month identifying the cost of key reforms in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report.

The Grattan report aims to help the government navigate through the differing recommendations of the royal commissioners and provide a pathway for aged care reform.

Under the model, the proposed $9.8 million would go toward:

  • boosting the aged care workforce by employing at least 70,000 additional workers
  • thousands of care finders nationally to make it easier for people to navigate the aged care system
  • making the system more transparent to ensure taxpayer money is spent on high-quality care
  • clearing the home care wait list and ensuring people receive home care within 30 days of assessment
  • a higher level funding package to enable Australians to remain at home for longer.

Grattan’s model is based on a fundamental need to change the whole aged care system, said lead author Dr Stephen Duckett.

Dr Stephen Duckett

“We need to throw out the existing regulatory arrangements and we need to throw out the existing ideology about how the aged care system ought to be run and regulated and start afresh,” Dr Duckett told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“In particular, we said we could start afresh with a rights-based approach to aged care and this would involve giving people a right to access. And once they’re in aged care systems or programs, a right to, as far as possible, pursue their own objectives, their own goals,” said Dr Duckett, Grattan’s health and aged care program director.

It is critically important to get this funding to improve aged care, he said.

“Australians… heard the stories from the royal commission of very bad care in residential aged care… [and there are] 100,000 people on the home care waiting list. These are things that we shouldn’t be expecting in a civilised society.”

Sourcing more dollars

The $9.8 billion annual price tag corresponds to the figure the royal commissioners found was cut from the 2018-19 aged care budget due the collective decisions of successive governments.

The report suggests various ways of funding the model but suggests the “onus is on the Federal Government to identify the best way to fund the increased spending” and announce it soon.

Dr Duckett said the government could consider funding the model via a Medicare-style aged care levy, a form of which was recommended by both royal commissioners.

“A 1 per cent increase would cost Australian taxpayers an extra $700- $800 a year each, and most taxpayers would support that, given the stories we’ve heard.”

The funding could also come from older people, such as through including more of the value of the family home in the Age Pension assets test and changes to superannuation tax arrangements, he said.

Dr Duckett said he hoped the report would influence the upcoming Federal Budget.

“We’re aiming for the government to put a whole lot of extra money into aged care as part of the budget process,” he said.

He said the model should be implemented as soon as possible.

“We’d hope to see this happening over the next three to four years,” he said.

Access The next steps for aged care: forging a clear path after the Royal Commission.

Comment below to have your say on this story. Subscribe to Australian Ageing Agenda magazine and sign up to the AAA newsletter

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. No one would argue with the general theme of the article. However, the funds required must be used correctly. In home care we continue to see massive rorting of the packages but all we hear about is the need for more packages. There is a call for NDIS independent assessments… Why not? If everything is ridgy didge then there is nothing to worry about. Of course the reason for the objection is just that, the cost of services is ludicrous and shocking financial abuse. Then you have the accommodation component of the NDIS that sees a bedroom rented to NDIS for $300k per year!!!!
    Who is overseeing this mess? Blind (and stupid) Freddy????

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.