Aged Care Act Exposure Draft – Key Issues Paper

COTA Australia, in partnership with the Older Persons Advocacy Network and 10 other older people and carer organisations, today released their Key Issues Paper in response to the New Aged Care Act Exposure Draft.

Scheduled to come into effect on 1 July 2024, this ground-breaking piece of legislation will inform the future of Australia’s aged care. It is vital for older people, their families, and anyone with interest in the aged care sector to have their say.

Key issues in the Aged Care Exposure Draft

The Aged Care Royal Commission recognised that the design of the current aged care system meant older people and their families had limited power compared to providers and regulators. However, it proposed a more transparent rights-based approach to aged care, with stronger regulatory powers to correct the power imbalance.

You may recall that last year we ran consultations about various aspects of the Act, which some of you will have attended. Given the benefit of your views and experiences, we made a submission that reflected the feedback provided at the consultations. We are pleased to see that the exposure draft for the New Aged Care Act addresses much of our feedback, with 29 of our submission recommendations reflected in the draft. But the exposure draft doesn’t go far enough to deliver choice and control, transparency, an effective complaints process and enforceability of rights.

Some of the key issues we identified include:

  • The choice and control over how we receive care and services,
  • ensuring rights are enforced,
  • the need for an effective, independent, complaints process
  • the transparency of aged care providers and government actions, and
  • ensuring the Act commences by 1 July 2024 so older people don’t have to wait longer for their rights.

Our Key Issues Paper has been prepared by COTA Australia and OPAN, in partnership with 10 other older people and carer organisations. It presents a preliminary assessment of some of the key issues with the Exposure Draft of the new Aged Care Act and proposes possible solutions for discussion. It is not designed to be an exhaustive list and there will be other issues that arise based on the feedback of older people, carers and stakeholders.  The paper does not address aspects of the Act that we support.