COTA is recommending action in the 2013-2014 Budget in five key areas:
- aged support and care
- income support and
1 These are again included in this submission because we believe that the case for these improvements is stronger and the need even greater than last year. Other proposals, including improvements to palliative care and changes to superannuation, are new recommendations emerging from work we have done in 2012.
Aged Support and Care
The Living Longer. Living Better (LLLB) reform package represents a substantial start to reforming aged care. However, more needs to be done to ensure Australia’s aged care system is fair and equitable for consumers and is sustainable in the longer term. COTA is asking for a move to an entitlement system, improvements to The Gateway and measures to ensure consumers get maximum benefits from the reforms (Recommendations 1 – 5).
The shortage of affordable housing is affecting older people, particularly those in the private rental market. COTA is calling for an immediate increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance and long term investment in social housing (Recommendations 6 – 8).
Older people consistently identify two areas of health care needing more attention, namely palliative care and preventative health. The recommendations on palliative care improve consumers’ knowledge of and access to palliative care. On preventative health COTA is seeking a dedicated Older Person’s Preventative Health Strategy (Recommendations 9-13).
The gap between pensions and allowances has widened too far, particularly for single people. Single people who rely on allowances are living in poverty. These include many older unemployed people. COTA is calling for an immediate increase of $50 per week for single people on allowances and improved indexation of allowances (Recommendations 14- 15).
Voluntary contributions are one of the key components of the retirement income system. COTA is asking for the cap on concessional contributions to be restored to $50,000 a year (Recommendations 16-17)