The health and aged care sector was the recipient of significant funding in the Federal Budget (including the $17.7 billion Aged Care package), while substantial funding was also allocated to assist with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We break down what the Budget will mean for the aged care, health, lifesciences and disability sectors.
- The Australian Government has announced its response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on 11 May 2021, adopting many of the recommendations as part of the Federal Budget.
- The Government announced a $17.7 billion aged care package, spent over five years and including 80,000 extra home care packages.
- Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said this would make a total of 275,000 packages available. The present waiting list is 100,000.
- The Aged Care package is designed as long term structural reform after the Royal Commission found the system in a parlous state and needing a comprehensive overhaul.
- ‘We will increase the time nurses and carers are required to spend with their patients,’ Mr Frydenberg said. This will be mandated at 200 minutes per day, including 40 minutes with a registered nurse.
- The Government will make an additional payment of a $10 Basic Daily Fee Supplement per resident per day to enhance the viability and sustainability of the residential aged care sector and will continue the 30% increase in the homelessness and viability supplements.
- ‘We will support over 33,000 new training places for personal carers, and a new Indigenous workforce.’
- ‘We will increase access for respite services for carers.’
- ‘We will strengthen the regulatory regime to monitor and enforce standards of care.’
The Government has announced as part of the package:
- $26.7 million over four years to develop a new Aged Care Act.
- $21.1 million over four years to establish the National Aged Care Advisory Council.
- $6.5 billion over four years to release 80,000 additional home care packages over two years from 2021-22.
- $798.3 million to provide greater access to respite care services and payments to support carers.
- $272.5 million over four years to support senior Australians to access information about aged care, navigate the aged care system and connect to services through the introduction of dedicated face to face services.
- $365.7 million to improve access to primary care and other health services in residential aged care.
- $301.3 million, primarily for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
- $200.1 million for a new star rating system to provide senior Australians, their families and carers with information to make comparisons on quality and safety performance of aged care providers.
- $78.4 million for Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and the Severe Behavioural Response Teams to strengthen the regulation of chemical and physical restraints and to further reduce the reliance on these restraints.
- $3.9 billion over five years from 2020-21 to increase the amount of front line care (care minutes) delivered to aged care residents and who access respite services by 1 October 2023. This will be mandated at 200 minutes per day, including 40 minutes with a registered nurse – it still remains unclear if this is on average or per resident.
- $279.8 million over three years from 2020-21 to further support residential aged care providers through the continuation of temporary financial supports and the Viability Fund.
- $189.3 million over four years from 2020-21 to implement the new funding model, the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC).
- $117.3 million to support structural reforms, including discontinuing of the current bed licence and the Aged Care Approval Round process from 1 July 2024 and the implementation of a new Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) Support Loan Program, including strengthened financial reporting requirements for residential aged care providers.
- $49.1 million for the current independent hospital pricing authority to help ensure that aged care funding is directly related to the cost of care.
- $216.7 million over three years from 2021-22 to grow and upskill the workforce and enhance nurse leadership and clinical skills through additional nursing scholarships and places in the Aged Care Transition to Practice Program, to provide more dementia and palliative care training for aged care workers and to recruit aged care workers in regional and remote areas.
- $228.2 million to support the establishment of a single aged care assessment workforce for residential aged care from October 2022 and home care from July 2023.
- $106.5 million to introduce national consistent worker screening, register and code-of-conduct for all care sector workers including aged care workers.
- $91.8 million over two years from 2021-22 to support the training of 13,000 new home care workers.
- $9.8 million over two years from 2021-22 to extend the Care and Support Workforce national campaign.
In addition, from 5 January 2021, work limitation conditions placed on student visa holders have been temporarily lifted to allow these visa holders to work more than 40 hours per fortnight building on previously provided arrangements for students working in the health and Aged Care sector.