Budget aged care measures a positive start to older Australians having the support they deserve

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird has broadly welcomed the $17.7 billion of new spending announced in the Federal Budget to better fund residential aged care and home care.

“These measures are a step in the right direction to ensure our elderly are valued and have the care they deserve,” Mr Baird said. “We welcome that most of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety have been supported.”

Mr Baird said the big-ticket items of $6.5 billion for more Home Care Packages, $3.9 billion for a $10 Basic Daily Fee Supplement and $3.2 billion for more face-to-face care, were strong responses to the Aged Care Royal Commission’s blueprint for reform.

However, he said the Federal Government needed to commit to ensuring better pay for aged care workers. At present, the Government’s position was to wait for a ruling from the Fair Work Commission – and the Budget contained no funding.

“A revitalised, valued and supported Workforce is the key to delivering the quality of care older Australians rightly deserve, Mr Baird said. “The aged care sector needs more staff, more training and improved pay.

“This is not about the dollars but supporting our workers to provide the care that is needed. It is an affirmation of the value of our care workers and provides an increased capacity to attract new workers.”

Mr Baird welcomed the establishment of the Independent Hospital and Aged Care Pricing Authority to provide independent advice on the future funding needs of the sector.

“Future budgets for aged care cannot be solely shaped on the basis of financial capacity,” he said. “They must be done with an understanding of the true cost of providing care.”

Other initiatives supported include a new star rating system that would add transparency and allow senior Australians to make informed choices.

An additional $67.5 million to expand the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and the Severe Behaviour Response Teams would be a huge benefit for people living with dementia and their carers.

Funding for more respite services, including $134.9 million for the overnight cottage respite network, would support carers continue to do wonderful work of helping those they love to live at home.

“These new Budget measures, together with a commitment to increase wages if recommended by the Fair Work Commission, would provide a pathway of hope for improved aged care quality,” Mr Baird said.