Stakeholders hopeful Act will build better system

More than 1,220 survey responses were received during the consultation process.

Almost two-thirds of respondents to a government survey are optimistic the new Aged Care Act will improve Australia’s aged care sector.

The survey was conducted as part of the 12-week consultation process which commenced mid-December last year to gauge stakeholder reaction to the exposure draft of the new Act.

Results contained in the consultation feedback report released last week by the Department of Health and Aged Care show 61 per cent of 442 respondents – which included providers, peaks, workers, advocacy groups, and older people and their families – agreed or strongly agreed the new Aged Care Act will help build a better aged care system.  

Source: Department of Health and Aged Care

When asked about the clarity of the legislation – which is scheduled to take effect from 1 July 2025 – more than two-thirds of respondents (71 per cent) agreed or strongly agreed the components were clear.

The exposure draft – which was released for public consultation mid-December last year – includes a definition of “high quality care”. The 325-page document states that individuals will be considered to be receiving high quality care if the service:

  • puts the older person first
  • upholds the rights of the individual under the Statement of Rights.

High quality care must also prioritise:

  • kindness, compassion and respect for life experiences, self-determination, dignity, quality of life, mental health and wellbeing of the individual
  • the timely and responsive delivery of the service to the individual
  • specific tailoring of care to the personal needs, aspirations and preferences of the individual – among other priorities.

When asked if the definition of high quality care matched what respondents want aged care to look like in the future, 68 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that the definition did mirror expectations.

Source: Department of Health and Aged Care

However, there was mixed feedback when respondents were asked if they felt confident that the definition of high quality care will encourage providers to do better – 45 per cent agreed or strongly agreed they were confident while 43 per cent either failed to agree or disagree (19 per cent) or disagreed or strongly disagreed (32 per cent) that they felt confident the definition would encourage providers to do better.

When asked for thoughts on the new subsidy framework and whether or not it will better address the costs of caring for older people, only 32 per cent agreed or strongly agreed; 50 per cent either failed to agree or disagree (29 per cent) or disagreed or strongly disagreed (21 per cent).

Source: Department of Health and Aged Care

When asked if having a single list of services in the new Act will make it easier for people to know what the government-funded aged care system provides, 78 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that it would.

There was also a strong positive reaction when respondents were asked if the actions and duties of supporters and representatives should promote the will and preferences of older people with 84 per cent agreeing or strongly agreeing.

When the respondents were asked if the proposed statutory duties on providers will deter them from performing harmful actions, only 37 per cent agreed or strongly agreed; 54 per cent either failed to agree or disagree (25 per cent) or disagreed or strongly disagreed (29 per cent).

Source: Department of Health and Aged Care

Respondents were also asked what information they thought providers should be sharing about aged care workers. Almost all respondents (95 per cent) believe the public should know if a worker meets the qualification and training requirements of their role and has complied with worker screening requirements.

Touching upon whistleblower protections, respondents were asked if they feel confident that personal information will be properly protected under the new Act, 50 per cent agreed or strongly agreed.

Source: Department of Health and Aged Care

The survey was open to public response from 16 January to 8 March. A total of 1,226 survey responses were received including from individuals and organisations. Of the 763 respondents answering the demographic question – where it was possible to select mulitple categories – many identified as older people (37 per cent), family members or carers (30 per cent) or aged care providers and workers (35 per cent).

Having received the responses and the other feedback collected during the consultation process, the department will consider stakeholders’ answers, concerns and suggestions and make necessary revisions to the exposure draft before it is introduced to parliament.

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Tags: aged care act, consultation, survey,

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