Commonwealth proposes ageing takeover

COAG will discuss a plan to establish a new HACC arrangement with the Commonwealth and state governments taking on new roles.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in October will consider a Commonwealth takeover of all government-funded aged care programs.

According to an article in The Age, the Federal Government has developed a plan to split the Home and Community Care Program into two from July next year.

Under the plan, the Commonwealth would be directly responsible for all HACC programs for older people and the states would assume full responsibility for HACC programs for younger people with disabilities.

The thinking behind the plan, according to The Age, is that, “having one level of government with full responsibility for the aged would allow Canberra to bundle together services more effectively”.

But the newspaper reports that the Victorian government is concerned that some clients could experience a reduction in the quality of their care, if the plan were to go ahead.

In a statement, the Commonwealth Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot said the Rudd Government would continue to work in partnership with the states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process to improve services for frail and aged Australians.

“Australia now has the world’s second longest life expectancy after the Japanese. This is about preparing Australia for the challenges of the 21st century and responding to the needs of our ageing population,” Mrs Elliot said.

“The decision on [HACC] is still under consideration and there will be consultation with the States and Territories.

“It is scheduled to go to COAG later this year,” Mrs Elliot said.

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