POLICY ALERT 16: Federal Budget 2018-19

The 2018/19 Federal Budget contains a large number of important measures to improve the lives of older Australians, which jointly constitute a significant, positive step towards better preparing Australia for our ageing population of the future.

Most of the measures related to older Australians are found in a major Budget package called “More Choices for a Longer Life” and are detailed in the policy alert, but some of the stand-out measures for older Australians include:

  • Major investments in aged care reform, including additional high level Home Care Packages and implementation of the Carnell/Paterson Quality Review
  • The creation of skills, health and financial checks at 45 and 65, to be backed up by a range of subsidies and support services
  • Expansion of the Pension Loan Scheme to allow all older Australians greater flexibility to use home equity to boost retirement incomes or meet later life costs
  • In response to COTA representation, including the member petition, a mental health services program targeted at aged care residents, and a pilot program in the community.

There are, however, also some important gaps in the Budget, which we address in the discussion of portfolio measures. Key gaps include:

  • No increase again in Newstart Allowance for unemployed older Australians
  • No measures to assist older Australians in housing stress and at risk of or experiencing homelessness
  • No action on addressing the oral and dental health needs of older Australians

You can view a video of Chief Executive Ian Yates discussing the budget here and view what COTA member Val Dobson had to say about getting access to an aged care home care package in this video here.

Copies of COTA Australia Media Releases on the budget can be found here: