More than a quarter of applications for the Commonwealth Government’s business initiative to assist aged care facilities at risk of failure were unfunded because the money ran out, the Department of Health has told Australian Ageing Agenda.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck announced the $50 million Business Improvement Fund at the end of January last year to support residential aged care providers at risk of service failure through short-term grants.
Only 170 of 316 applications for the BIF were approved for funding (54 per cent) before the limit was reached, leaving 28 per cent of applications empty handed due to exhausted funds, a spokesperson for the Department of Health told AAA on Friday.
“There were 91 BIF applications that were not able to be funded due to funds being exhausted,” the health department spokesperson told AAA.
“These providers will be considered for funding under the new Structural Adjustment Program,” the spokesperson said.
The Federal Government announced the $32.6 million Structural Adjustment Program in the 2021-22 budget to support residential aged care providers to improve or change their operations or where appropriate, to sell or close their business.
“It builds on the success and uptake of the Business Improvement Fund and recognised the continued need to support aged care providers with viability issues through the reform process,” the department spokesperson said.
There are two separate grant opportunities under this program including a second round of the BIF and a Structural Adjustment Fund for Residential Aged Care.
Residential aged care providers experiencing financial difficulty including National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Flexible Aged Care Program and local government providers are eligible for the new program, the health department said.
“It is anticipated that the Structural Adjustment Program grant opportunities will be available in the second half of 2021,” the health department said.
The BIF and Structural Adjustment Program build on the government’s Business Advisory Service, a three-year $7.4 million initiative announced in February 2019 delivered by PwC Australia and its subcontractor StewartBrown.