Funding for an independent assessment service to reform residential aged care funding and to implement the Serious Incident Response Scheme are among the measures contained in the federal budget.
Handing down the budget on Tuesday night, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declared aged care “one of the greatest challenges we face in delivering essential services to Australians.”
While the announcement of $1.6 billion to fund 23,000 additional home care packages was the centrepiece of the government’s aged care announcement, the treasurer foreshadowed there will be more for the residential sector when the government provides its “comprehensive response” to the release of the aged care royal commission’s final report in February.
“This will involve significant additional investment. But we will continue to take action now, as promised,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Health minister Greg Hunt said the budget provided $408.5 million to improve the aged care system, including $746.3 million for pandemic response measures.
New aged care measures include $91.6 million over four years to reform aged care funding by undertaking shadow assessments based on the 2019 Resource Utilisation and Classification Study report Australian National Aged Care Classification funding model and $29.8 million to implement the Serious Incident Response Scheme to provide better protection for residents in aged care.
The budget also provides $35.6 million over two years to extend the Business Improvement Fund, to help restructure residential aged care to continue assisting eligible aged care providers to improve their financial operations and $26.9 million in 2020-21 to support the operation of the My Aged Care system.
It also includes $26 million in 2020-21 to maintain the capacity of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission in its ongoing regulation and compliance of the aged care sector and $11.4 million to defer the introduction of a cost recovery levy for unannounced site visits.
There is also $11.3 million to provide dementia services and training programs and $10.3 million over three years from 2020-21 to support the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council to implement the Aged Care Workforce Strategy.
It also includes $10.6 million over three years for a national network of system co-ordinators to help keep younger people with disability out of residential aged care, which was announced last week (read more here).
The budget also provides $4.1 million in 2020-21 to support the Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to respond to requests from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
“But we know there is still more to be done,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Budget at a glance
- $91.6 million over two years to continue the reform to residential aged care funding using the Australian National Aged Care Classification
- $35.6 million over two years to provide additional funding for the Business Improvement Fund
- $29.8 million over three years to administer the new serious incident response scheme
- $26.0 million to maintain the capacity of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
- $1.6 billion over four years for the release of an additional 23,000 home care packages across all package levels
- $11.3 million in 2020-21 to provide additional dementia services and training programs
- $10.6 million over three years to establish a network of care coordinators to assist younger people in residential aged care or who are at risk of entering residential aged care
- $10.3 million over three years to support the implementation of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy
- $4.1 million in 2020-21 to support the Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to respond to requests from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Read Community Care Review’s coverage of the federal budget on the home care sector here.