Providers react to federal budget

Reform funding welcome – but is it enough, ask aged care executives in response to the federal government’s $3.9-billion package for aged care.

Reform funding welcome – but is it enough, ask aged care executives in response to the federal government’s $3.9-billion package for aged care.

Charles Moore

Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda, BaptistCare NSW/ACT CEO Charles Moore said: “BaptistCare welcomes election commitments and funding for aged care; it’s a good starting point, but there is a lot to be done.”

Praising BaptistCare’s “amazing” staff, Mr Moore told AAA they had never worked in more trying circumstances, “and they need to see progress.”

“We’re looking forward to the government’s full support for the work value case determination next year and increased and sustainable funding for the sector so that older Australians have care and services that will see them living well.”

“This is long overdue.”

Mike Baird

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird also welcomed the reform package, which delivers on 23 royal commission recommendations.

Mike Baird

Although many of the initiatives were expected – such as 24/7 registered nurses and increased care minutes – Mr Baird told AAA: “It’s great to see the federal government has followed through on its pre-election commitments to make aged care one of its key spending priorities.”

Mr Baird also acknowledged the “expressed commitment in the budget to support any increase in award wages for frontline aged care workers arising from the Fair Work Commission decision.”

“This was long overdue,” he said, “and the government is to be commended to fund [aged care] despite the budget pressures.”

Noting the funding for upskilling and training measures as well as the cash earmarked for marginalised populations living with dementia, Mr Baird told AAA: “We welcome the further commitments to TAFE for places where there are skill shortages such as in aged care and the $26.1 million for targeted funding to help older First Nations peoples and other disadvantaged groups living with dementia.”

Janet Muir

RSL LifeCare chief executive officer Janet Muir told AAA the additional support and funding for aged care was much appreciated.

“Millions of Australians rely on aged care every day and it’s important to continue to look after those that have looked after and continue to look after so many,” she said. “Strong leadership and investment is critical to building a strong and vibrant aged care sector that ensures older Australians are always at the fore.”

“The government is starting to put its money where its mouth is.”

Jason Kara

Meanwhile, the aged care director of provider group Catholic Health Australia, Jason Kara, told AAA: “It was comforting to see that, despite the prevailing economic headwinds, aged care was not abandoned.”

The budget, he said, was “a down payment on the huge investment needed to ensure the sector is able to deliver on what the government and society expects of it following the royal commission.”

Jason Kara

Addressing the workforce shortage, Mr Kara told AAA the 15,000 fee-free TAFE places for aged care was a “good announcement”. But he added: “It is disappointing the government didn’t use the budget to announce personal care workers would be on the visa priority list.”

The $312 million to support ICT systems to keep up with the new reforms is also good news, said Mr Kara, “but it’s not immediately clear how that money will be divided between the sector and the bureaucracy.”

But, overall, said Mr Kara, the Albanese Government’s inaugural budget “demonstrated that the government is starting to put its money where its mouth is.”   

However, Mr Kara told AAA time will tell whether the funding and the reforms will be enough to fix the long-standing problems facing the sector. “We have a window between now and the next budget to monitor and assess whether it is going to be enough to do what needs to be done.”

Main image: Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivers his maiden budget speech to parliament

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Tags: baptistcare nsw and act, catholic health australia, charles moore, featured, federal budget, hammondcare, Janet Muir, jason kara, mike baird, rsl lifecare,

1 thought on “Providers react to federal budget

  1. Unfortunately it doesn’t address the current situation where community allied health staff working at a large Brisbane organisation are constantly leaving due to being paid approx $10 per hour less than their hospital allied health colleagues.

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