Aged and Community Services Australia said it was pleased government had heeded advice about avoiding further cuts to aged care funding in the 2017 Federal Budget just announced by the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, on Wednesday night. CEO Pat Scott said “The steady as she goes approach outlined in this Budget is necessary while the Legislated Review and ACFI reviews are completed. Industry and the government will then be able to have a sensible conversation on how aged care funding, including those from the public and private purse, can be structured to ensure our older citizens receive the quality of care they deserve.”
The Aged Care Guild had launched a campaign that called on the government to rule out further cuts and welcomed the Budget decision to maintain current levels of funding for aged care. “Funding stability means elderly Australians and their families can be assured that resources will be maintained” said CEO Cameron O’Reilly.
Whilst the aged care sector breathed a sigh of relief at the lack of an announcement on aged care funding cuts, they were delighted that the long-running debate on the role of government in helping to establish an age care workforce strategy was finally acknowledged with the Treasurer announcing $1.19 million over two years to establish and support the taskforce. The industry led aged care workforce taskforce will explore options to improve productivity in the aged care workforce as well as contributing to the development of a strategy which includes regional and remote areas. This is being funded from within existing resources of the Department of Health. It is part of a broader workforce package of $33million also in the new budget, to help aged care and disability service providers in rural and regional areas.
Aged and Community Services Australia, which had sought $2 million for a taskforce in its pre-Budget submission to government, also welcomed the announcement of this initiative. “ACSA has been instrumental, with other provider peaks, in advocating the need for such a strategy,” said CEO Pat Sparrow. Along with the Aged Care Guild, Leading Age Services Australia, Catholic Health Australia and Uniting Care Australia ASCA have already developed a framework and all agreed that an industry-led taskforce is needed to develop a workforce strategy.
As I observe the affects of government support and cut backs to the aged care sector in my role as an Aged Care Consultant I am pleased to see a positive position from the government in this year’s budget announcement.