The Productivity Commission’s deputy chairman is confident that the group’s report into aged care will lead to reform in the sector.

During a Q&A panel session at the Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA) Congress in Adelaide, Mike Woods said significant transformation was necessary.

“The current system is unsustainable and it will fall apart,” he said. “Given that we know that, there will be change.”

“I just hope that our report is seen as a coherent whole because that’s how it has been crafted.”

Mr Woods told the discussion that the commission’s report would outline a clear transition strategy for all the major reforms that it recommends.

“If we can’t show a pathway to the end, then why should the government assume that it’s worth starting on that journey?” he said.

One of the key messages to emerge from the 478 submissions that the commission has received is that older people wish to exercise greater choice and control.

“They want to maintain their independence and keep living in their own communities,” Mr Woods said.

“They want to have choice to work out what they want and need as they move through the different stages of care.”

The CEO of Masonic Homes, Doug Strain told the panel that the aged care reform process needed to remove constraints on providers.

He said aged care organisations were struggling to deliver services with inadequate funding, poor staff wages and an uncertain future.

“What we need from government is less government – and an opening up to the market,” he said.

“It behoves us all and it behoves government to start addressing these issues. It’s about getting out of the way and letting the market take its course.”

The Productivity Commission has been granted an extension for the release of its landmark report into the aged care sector.

The draft report will now be released on 21 January next year, with the final due in June.

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