Benetas welcomes Budget boost to support older Australians
9th May 2018
Leading Victorian not-for-profit aged care provider, Benetas, has welcomed the significant boost to aged care funding delivered in last night’s Federal Budget.
Consumers, service providers and peak bodies have campaigned strongly for greater support for older Australians seeking aged care services, and last night’s package has gone some way to achieve this.
Benetas CEO Sandra Hills OAM said that many elements of the Budget will have a positive impact on our ageing population however there is still room for a greater impact to be made.
“While we welcome the funding of an additional 14,000 Home Care packages over four years, this equates to approximately 3,500 packages each year, which is only really addressing the current need and not helping to address the more than 100,000 people currently waiting for a Home Care package,” she said.
“In the context of aiming to keep people in their homes longer, our experience has shown that an inability to provide these packages in a timely manner and have them meet the needs of older people, may actually see them entering into residential aged care much sooner than they need to.
“The allocation of $60 million to improve the My Aged Care website, and the $7.5 million to provide older Australians with better access to care and help in navigating the age care system is a fantastic initiative however and a critical investment to support the reform agenda.
“These are positive outcomes for older Australians but we would still like to see a more holistic, long term response to address the provision of Home Care packages. That is, a smooth and timely transition from application to fulfilment.”
Benetas has a keen interest in the state of the aged care workforce and supports innovative measures to drive growth and address potential skills shortages in the sector.
Ms Hills noted that while no official comment on the upcoming report by the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, Chaired by Professor John Pollaers, has been made at this time, she hopes that sufficient funding will be available to ensure the implementation of all recommendations provided.
“I do however applaud the Federal Budget delivery of several measures to support mature age workers to adapt to the transitioning economy and develop skills needed to remain in work,” she said
“Aged care is a growth sector and we hope to see many mature aged workers take up this funding and pursue a career in aged care.”
Ms Hills believes there is much to celebrate about the Budget but remains concerned about the long-term viability of residential aged care funding and the overall sustainability of the sector.
“Recent changes to residential care funding arrangements have contributed to a squeeze on the cost of delivering care and on provider organisations’ sustainability,” she said.
“A number of reviews of the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) have been commissioned and are still being considered by Government. I am also particularly concerned that a number of the recommendations from the Aged Care Legislated Review 2017 report by Mr David Tune AO PSM have not been addressed.
“We welcome the spending measures announced in this year’s Budget but trust the Government is committed to the longer term view of new funding arrangements for residential aged care and measures to improve the overall sustainability of the system.”