Advocacy organisations for older people release Aged Care Act Key Issues Paper


30 January 2024

New Aged Care Act must have teeth and can’t be delayed
Advocacy organisations for older people release Aged Care Act Key Issues Paper

Aged care residents must have an absolute right to visitors at all times, the rights of aged care residents must be enforceable, and an independent and effective system for dealing with complaints from residents and their families must be enshrined in a new Aged Care Act, according to a Key Issues Paper released in response to the Federal Government’s Aged Care Act Exposure Draft.

The Key Issues Paper, developed by 12 national organisations working with older people and carers, outlines major areas of concern in relation to the Federal Government’s plans for a new Aged Care Act.

The Federal Government has committed to introducing legislation that would guarantee the implementation of a new Aged Care Act by July 1 2024 – a timeline advocacy organisations say they’ll be holding the government to.

COTA Australia Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Sparrow, said while the Federal Government’s exposure draft of the new Aged Care Act is a huge improvement on the current Act and needs to be implemented quickly, there are some further changes that need to be made.

“The exposure draft released by the Federal Government is clearly an improvement on the current Act and shows the Federal Government has been listening to the concerns of older Australians and their carers, but there are still significant changes that need to be made to ensure the rights of older people are protected,” Ms Sparrow said.

“Older Australians want and deserve an Aged Care Act that genuinely protects their rights. That means the new Act needs to not only include detail on how the rights of older people will be protected, but also how they will be enforced.

“The Aged Care Act is fundamental to achieving the reforms recommended by the Royal Commission and action is needed in this term of parliament to deliver on the promised reforms.”

The key issues paper outlines a range of areas older Australians have said they want strengthened in the Act including:

  • Enforceable rights of older people that address the current power imbalance
  • A robust, independent complaints system
  • Transparency of timelines and funding
  • Strong regulation and penalties for those found guilty of not upholding the rights of older people.

OPAN Chief Executive Officer, Craig Gear, said older Australians have made it very clear what they need to see in the new Aged Care Act.

“Older people are telling us they want their rights and they want them now. They can’t wait any longer. It has been three years since the Aged Care Royal Commission delivered its final report, recommending the creation of a new rights-based Aged Care Act.”

“We’re looking forward to working with our politicians to make sure older Australians get an Act that enshrines their rights.”


Tamara Kotoyan (COTA Australia) –0430 291 890

Vicky Roach (OPAN) – 0412 720 025 –

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