A Productivity Commission inquiry into the feasibility of alternative funding approaches to long-term care and support for people with disabilities could have an impact on aged care reform.

The inquiry will investigate the appropriateness of a no-fault social insurance approach to funding the nation’s disability support services.

In his official announcement about the investigation, prime minister Kevin Rudd said the commission would also examine if a social insurance approach would “fit with” the nation’s aged care system.

The broad scope of the inquiry has been welcomed by Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), which said a “whole of community” approach to disability support was essential.

“Disability comes in many forms and we are particularly delighted that the prime minister has included aged care in the scope of the Commission’s inquiry,” said the association’s CEO, Greg Mundy.

Mr Mundy said it was essential to simplify the system for funding and delivering long term care to people with a disability.

“We already know that many older people living with a disability are being denied access to the levels of care and support they need, due to inadequate funding, delays in assessments, and confusing regulatory requirements,” he said. 

“A simplified system which assures the funding and delivery of long term care and support to people with a disability, regardless of its cause, is long over due for millions of Australians.”

It is estimated that 2.3 million Australians will have a high level of disability by 2030 and many of these people will be older citizens, Mr Mundy added.

The Productivity Commission will inform the government of its findings in July 2011.

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