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Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt announcing the Royal Commission terms of reference. Photo: Joel Carrett. Source: AAP

Royal Commission terms of reference, heads announced

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

Among the directives are that it should cover the challenges and opportunities for providing accessible, affordable and high quality aged care, and delivering care to people living with dementia.

Morrison also named its commissioners. He recommended the Governor General appoint former judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia honourable justice Joseph McGrath and ex-chief executive of Medicare Lynelle Briggs. The latter also served as Australian Public Service Commissioner for five years.

“Both these individuals have had an enormous volume of experience, an exemplary record of Australian public service throughout their careers, in their respective fields,” Morrison told reporters at the Sydney Opera House. “They will need to determine the full extent of the problems in aged care and to understand how we can meet the challenges and the opportunities of delivering aged care services now and into the future.”

The government received more than 5000 submissions after putting out a request to hear from industry and the public.

Per its terms of reference, the aged care royal commission will cover:

  • Quality and safety including the extent of substandard care
  • How to best deliver care services to people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities, including younger people
  • How to best deliver care to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia
  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services, including people’s desire to remain living at home as they age, and aged care in rural, regional and remote Australia
  • What the Government, the aged care sector, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen care services to ensure quality and safety
  • How to allow people greater choice, control and independence and how to improve engagement with families and carers, and
  • How to best deliver sustainable aged care services through innovative care and investment in the aged care workforce and infrastructure, as well as
  • Any matters that the commissioners believe is relevant to their inquiry.

To be based in Adelaide, the royal commissioners will provide an interim report by 31 October 2019 and a final report by 30 April 2020, though Morrison said the commissioners might get these reports in sooner if they believe they’re in a position to do so.

When questioned by reporters, Morrison clarified that more time will be given for the interim report if needed. “That will be something that will be determined by the Royal Commissioners themselves. Having just announced it, I wouldn’t want to be prejudging those sorts of things,” he explained.

Morrison reassured the industry that while they go about their work, the government will get on with its policing and reform program.

Click here for more details on the terms of reference.

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One comment

  1. My name is Trevor Toivonen an Australian citizen living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA. I’m retired and working as a volunteer for the Area Aging Agency as an ombudsman (advocate) for the residents of a local nursing home located in Yukon a suburb of Oklahoma City. My wife an I made a visit to Australia recently to visit family and friends in NSW. I was pleased to learn that the Federal Government has established an investigation into the aged care sector and the treatment of our senior citizens in nursing homes across the nation. Must add, this investigation is long overdue based on the abuse one reads and hears via the media. I have been involved in as a an ombudsman at our local nursing home for 26 months, an experience and a rewarding time in my life as a retiree. The role of an ombudsman is to visit the allocated nursing home once a week for two hours to ensure the nursing home complies with federal and state government laws and regulations on aged care. report of any misconduct, abuse, lack of care by the nursing home firstly to the Administrator of the nursing home, secondly the Director of Nursing or in their absence the admissions manager. The ombudsman reports in writing to the agencies Supervisor for further action, if required. All abuses to residents are reported to the local law enforcement authorities for investigation. If my experience as an ombudsman is of interest to the commissioners undertaking the investigation, I would be willing to offer further details on my experience. Additional details are available on our agencies website http://www.areawideaging.org

    Kind regrads

    Trevor Toivonen