Swift action needed on new Aged Care Act, experts say


Thursday, 04 April, 2024

Swift action needed on new Aged Care Act, experts say

Leaked reports that the implementation of the new Aged Care Act could be delayed until 2025 have deeply concerned advocates for older Australians.

Internal departmental communications from within the federal government suggest that the crucial reforms — which were a key recommendation of the Aged Care Royal Commission — will not be implemented by 1 July as was previously committed to by the government. The same leak indicated that the bill would be presented to the parliament by June 2024.

According to peak advocacy bodies COTA Australia and Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), any delay to the introduction of the Aged Care Act would be a blow to the rights of older Australians.

“Older Australians want to get aged care set up right, now and into the future, but it doesn’t mean we need to move at a glacial pace. The idea of pushing back this vital legislation to as late as July 2025 is simply unacceptable,” said Patricia Sparrow, Chief Executive Officer of COTA Australia.

“Introducing the bill for parliamentary scrutiny by June 2024 is appropriate. Parliament provides the ideal platform for conducting the next level of public consultation on all aspects of the bill through a senate inquiry, including the examination of consolidated rules and subordinate legislation.”

“Older people cannot wait another 15 months for their rights to be enshrined in legislation,” said Craig Gear OAM, Chief Executive Officer of OPAN.

“While work is required to incorporate the extensive feedback provided by older people, their families and other people with an interest in aged care into the new Aged Care Act, we believe the time frame being suggested by aged care providers to be overly conservative if not excessive.

“Government has heard from all stakeholders, including older people, that factoring in transition time for some components of the Act would be appropriate, but we need the legislation introduced mid-year and passed by the end of the year.”

COTA and OPAN said the current Aged Care Act is not fit for purpose. Both organisations confirm that they are ready and willing to work with the Australian Government and aged care providers around the transition and implementation time frame.

Image credit: iStock.com/andresr

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