COTA Australia statement: Aged Care Taskforce Report

MEDIA STATEMENT                                                                                                                 12 March 2024

The release of the Aged Care Taskforce report today signals an important next step in discussions around how we navigate the difficult funding and sustainability issues that aged care and older Australians face over the next decade.

COTA Australia was pleased to be involved in the Taskforce, ensuring the voice of the most important people in the conversation – older Australians – was heard loud and clear.

As the Taskforce report makes clear, ambitious action is required to set us up for an ageing population and increasingly complex aged care needs. The report makes recommendations that address access to aged care for all regardless of their capacity to pay as well as improved consumer protections, particularly for additional services in residential care.  In addition, the Taskforce highlights the need for grandparenting and transition arrangements to support current participants and provide time for people to plan for the new arrangements.

The conversation about the long-term financial sustainability of aged care is a crucial one and one which we can’t afford to shy away from. All of those conversations need to be centered around the needs and rights of older Australians, ensuring they’re very clear on where their money is being spent and confident they’re getting the quality service they deserve.

Older people have told COTA Australia over many years that they would be prepared to pay more for aged care if the quality is improved; a clear safety net to protect those who can’t afford to pay is in place; there are strong consumer protections for all participants; and providers were accountable and transparent about where and how taxpayer funds and individual contributions are being spent.

There’s no question we need to continue to improve the quality of service that people are currently receiving and the Taskforce report supports that this is what needs to happen. Government has been implementing recommendations from the Royal Commission and this needs to continue to ensure quality continues to improve.

COTA Australia has long advocated, including through the Aged Care Taskforce, for improved quality, fairness and transparency when it comes to our aged care system – both residential and in home.

We need a system that is easy to understand, fair and equitable, and includes a strong safety net so that no one gets left behind.

We need to make sure that there are strong protections in place for older people and their families and we need to know that people’s money is being spent where it needs to be – not lining the back pockets of providers. This will be helped by the recently released ‘Dollars Going to Care’ reporting that is now available on My Aged Care.

We look forward to seeing the Federal Government’s response to the Taskforce report and will continue to advocate to ensure older people get the quality and service they deserve.

Media contact: Alana Mew, 0419 929 722 or Tamara Kotoyan, 0430 291 890