The aged care industry has expressed disappointment at the Commonwealth Government’s defence of current funding arrangements.
The government said it is well placed to meet the needs of Australia’s ageing population after the Aged Care Industry Council publicly called for a funding overhaul.
A spokesperson for Ageing Minister, Justine Elliot, reiterated that the government will provide $41.6 billion over the next four years for aged and community care services.
She added that government was committed to working with the sector’s stakeholders, including residents and families, to improve the quality of aged care in Australia.
But the council maintains that current funding arrangements are untenable because they fail to match the true cost of care.
“The Minister has again referred to $41.6 billion in aged and community care funding over the next four years,” said Aged and Community Services Australia CEO and council spokesperson, Greg Mundy.
“It is an impressive figure but sadly not a figure which corresponds with the actual costs of providing aged care.”
In its budget submission the council said independent industry benchmarking shows anecdotal evidence of declining care hours.
It warned that this trend will continue if fundamental changes are not made soon.
Measures proposed by the council in its submission include removing the cap on daily accommodation charges, allowing bonds in high care and increasing concessional rates to match average bond rates.
It is estimated that this would cost the government $422 million annually.
The council stressed that it does not wish to squabble but it urged the Rudd Government to “recognise the complexities” of the aged care system.
“We can all cite statistics to support our arguments but in reality we are talking about people, older Australian,” said Mr Mundy and Aged Care Association Australia CEO, Rod Young in a joint statement.
“They are not statistics, or numbers, and they need to be supported with appropriate funding.
“We need to work with the Government to find a solution for sustainable funding and we need to do it now.”