MEDIA RELEASE: Aged Care Reforms Set the Direction for the Future

Australia’s peak aged consumer body, COTA Australia welcomed the Living Longer Living Better package of aged care reforms announced by the Prime Minister and Minister for Ageing this morning.

The package outlines a 10 year reform plan that includes improved information through The Gateway, a major increase in Home Care packages, increased funding for dementia care and a fairer system of user contributions that will make sure people will pay according to their means.

COTA Australia Chief Executive Ian Yates said: “COTA welcomes the package as it delivers on many of the issues that older people have been raising for many years. The increase in number of packages of in home care gives more choice for older people and allows more people to stay living in their homes for longer.”

“We are particularly pleased to see that all Home Care packages offered after 1 July 2013 will be offered as Consumer Directed Care packages giving older people the opportunity to have more say on the way they receive their care.”

“For the first time there will be a more equitable system of user contributions that ensures people living on the pension will no longer be subsidising the care of millionaires. There will be annual and lifetime caps on care contributions which is good news for everybody.”

Good quality age care is dependent on having a sufficient and skilled workforce.

“The allocation of $1.2 billion for the implementation of a Workforce Compact between government, unions and aged care providers is a great first step in ensuring there is a supply of skilled aged care workers who will be able to deliver high quality of care for older,” he said.

“We are a little disappointed that the package falls short of giving older people an entitlement to aged care. We hope that the proposed five year review of the package will be the opportunity to revisit this issue and COTA will continue to work towards that.

“COTA would also like to see a more robust Gateway but think that this will evolve over time as the industry adapts to the new arrangements.”

COTA is looking forward to working as part of the Aged Care Reform Implementation Council to drive the reforms and ensure they do deliver more choice, easier access and better care for all Older Australians into the future.

Contact Ian Yates, Chief Executive, COTA Australia on 0418 835 439