No turning back from CDC: Shergold

Handing greater choice and control to ageing Australians is an unstoppable movement, which will only intensify in coming years and will present challenges for governments, providers and advocates alike, Professor Peter Shergold told the LASA Congress.


Professor Peter Shergold, Chair of the Aged Care Reform Implementation Council.

By Linda Belardi.

Peter Shergold, Chair of the Aged Care Reform Implementation Council, has challenged aged care providers to view the Living Longer, Living Better plan not as ‘a golden opportunity missed’ but as the beginning of a sweeping movement granting older people greater choice and control.

Addressing the LASA National Congress in Sydney on Wednesday, Professor Shergold said the “citizen-control movement” underpinning much of the reform agenda was unstoppable.

“For me, at the heart of much of this reform agenda is the empowerment of ageing Australians,” he said.

While he acknowledged concerns over consumer directed care such as increased financial pressure and greater service competition, he said there was no going back.

“Whether we call it customer directed care, tailored funding or individualised budgeting, over time it will become unstoppable and as you get older and you need to access services, you will become its greatest advocates,” he told the delegates at the congress.

“It will be uncomfortable for governments and public services. It will sometimes be challenging for providers. It will even be difficult for those who seek to advocate for their clients because no longer will older people be patronised, even by those who might be well-intentioned.”

Professor Shergold said experience overseas and in the disability sector showed that as individuals are given more choice and control they will become less willing to accept constraints on their decision-making.

“Year by year they will push for wider choice and more control and greater autonomy,” he said.

He also encouraged abandoning the term ‘consumer directed care’ in favour of citizen directed care.

ACRIC’s second bi-annual report

On Monday, the Aged Care Reform Implementation Council met to review the progress of 64 different initiatives as part of the LLLB reforms which need to be completed if the implementation process is to stay on track. Professor Shergold said while he was optimistic at this early stage in the implementation phase, he was concerned about the different reform initiatives staying connected as a coherent and consistent reform agenda.

Prior to the September 7 election, ACRIC will also draft its second bi-annual report to government in the form of incoming advice to the Minister for Ageing of the next government.

Professor Shergold strongly urged aged care providers to provide feedback to the council in preparation of that report.

“We want to know why you think this is a golden opportunity that is being missed. We appreciate professional support from the Department of Health and Ageing but we need to have an informed and independent viewpoint, and you can help,” he said.

ACRIC’s forthcoming report will focus on eight critical issues including the implications of the financial changes on both providers and consumers, expansion of CDC, introduction of the home support program and the review of the specified care and services schedule, among other issues.

He said the breadth of the task of reform was intimidating and ruthlessly demanding but critical to turning the rhetoric of reform on aged care into reality.

Professor Shergold said the view of aged care as welfare was also a problem. He said an ageing population did not represent a burden or a deficit.

“Let’s build our new frontier out of wellbeing and older people’s ability,” he said.

Read ACRIC’s first report and meeting communiqués here



1 thought on “No turning back from CDC: Shergold

  1. I can only agree with the statements made on identifying that the elderly are not a welfare issue? The movement for grey independence in choices in long term care services at home or facility based strong. Part of the problem we face is education. Educate them, educate their loved ones , educate the community. Its easy to say that older people know what they want/need.
    But Do they?
    Do they understand the complexity of the system, the extent of the need, the ability to comply and the impact of ageing on themselves and their community or society. And lets not ignore the elephants in the room at this time(money)as money gives you choices.
    Holistic is a word not only used in care.

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