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Australia’s ‘tough new aged care cop’ one step closer

Legislation for aged care’s “tough cop on the beat” has today been introduced to the lower house.

Part of the Government’s response to some widely-reported failures in the delivery of aged care, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is set to receive a $16 million boost.

The legislation would see the Commission take over the aged care regulatory functions of the Department of Health, including provider approvals, quality and prudential compliance, and compulsory reporting from 1 January 2020.

It will also streamline the functions of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner into a single agency.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said this will allow for instant and constant communication on compliance, risks and complaints. “There will be no more silos.”

Wyatt, along with Minister for Health Greg Hunt, previously called the new Commission a “tough cop on the beat”.

“Our message is clear – any organisation or person doing the wrong thing will be found,” Wyatt said today. “Sub-standard care will not be tolerated, including the option to shut down an operator doing the wrong thing.”

COTA Australia chief executive Ian Yates said the Commission – along with the new aged care quality standards, which recently passed through parliament – represent “a landmark advance for consumer rights in aged care”.

“We still need more to be done but these are essential steps forward to driving out poor quality providers of support and care for older Australians,” Yates said.

“The new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will for the first time introduce a ‘one-stop cop’ in aged care … and if implemented correctly will give consumers a single point of contact to raise concerns about any aspect of the quality of care being provided.”

He said the new communication from providers to the Commission will identify poor quality earlier and raise the alarm about dangerous care practices.

While these recent developments were important milestones, Yates said, the Government still needs to respond to all the recommendations from the Tune Report released one year ago.

Labor spokesperson for ageing Julie Collins welcomed today’s announcement but believed it was “too little, too late”.

“For [Prime Minister Scott Morrison] to go out today and pretend he’s the friend of older Australians does not wash,” Collins told reporters. Referring to the Carnell/Paterson review of aged care quality regulatory processes, she said: “This announcement today is from a report that’s been sitting on the government’s desk since October last year.”

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One comment

  1. Isn’t it funny that the regulators who have failed our industry receive a huge boost in funding, yet providers, which believe it or not there are many good ones, have their funding cut.

    If the regulators had been more vigilant and not let Oakden and other “crisis” events occur, we wouldn’t be in this position.

    How is it that the State Labour government in SA who was the “provider” of care at Oakden managed to successfully be accredited over 8 or more years, yet is the these rest of us who are punished through having our reputations stained. The inquiries should be looking at Government cover ups, and collusion. Then, if that doesn’t fix the problem, fair enough.

    As usual governments and opposition parties are “applauded” for taking action to fix Aged Care when it is they who are just as complicit as the poor providers they are talking about.

    Until regulators are held to account by the public as much as the industry, this will never go away.

    On behalf of provider who actually care about their residents and tirelessly work to ensure REAL quality care is delivered… enough is enough!!