The Commonwealth Government will begin conducting national site visits at all 30 flexible Aboriginal aged care services across Australia ahead of a building and maintenance plan which is due to be rolled out next year.
The government will provide an additional $500,000 to distribute fire protection devices to the remote, special service facilities.
The measures are part of the government’s $46 million Indigenous Aged Care Plan, which was announced following a coronial report into the death of a resident at the remote Docker River community in the Northern Territory.
The initiative will also introduce a set of unique standards for flexible Aboriginal residential services in remote communities.
“This plan is about providing proper care for older Indigenous people while still being respectful to their cultural needs,” said the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot.
“We will continue to consult with and take the advice of Indigenous communities and the Indigenous aged care sector.”
The extra funding and support has been welcomed by Brian Butler, a member of the Aboriginal Elders Council of South Australia.
Mr Butler said aged care services in many Aboriginal communities leave a lot to be desired.
“We have always been advocating for good, proper standards nationally,” he said.
“And the other measures, such as the additional funding, have certainly been missing in some of these services.”
Mr Butler stressed the importance of thorough consultation with Aboriginal communities about the proposed changes, particularly the new set of standards.
“People have to sit down and really talk to people in relation to the auditing of accommodation facilities on the land,” he said.
The Shadow Minister for Ageing, Margaret May, has joined Mrs Elliot to address indigenous aged care issues at a bipartisan level.
The politicians shared a visit to remote Aboriginal aged care services in the Northern Territory earlier this month.
“This is about putting aside our differences and working in partnership,” they said in a joint statement.