Home | News | New residential aged care places, regional focus a good start: sector

New residential aged care places, regional focus a good start: sector

Providers have welcomed 13,500 new residential aged care places announced by the aged care minister but are again calling for more long-term funding certainty.

The government will spend $907 million a year on the places announced in the latest Aged Care Approvals Round.

Older adults with financial or social challenges, First Nations Australians, and those who are LGBTI or veterans will have priority access to just under a quarter of the new places.

Aged & Community Services Australia chief executive Pat Sparrow said it’s important to remember that many in the community struggle to find the care they need. “Equal access to aged care is not a given.”

Sparrow added that while the new places are needed, so is a funding model rethink to ensure sustainability into the next decade and beyond.

“What this funding announcement doesn’t do is to resolve the underlying issue of the adequacy of funding for each resident with increased complexity of individual needs and direct care costs outstripping current funding,” she explained.

More than 5,000 of the new places are based in regional areas.

Leading Aged Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said the commitment to regional Australia was welcome. “Our sector is pleased to see the Government recognising the challenges facing older Australians in the bush and this announcement will help relieve some of the pressure in regional areas.”

But Rooney also highlighted the need for long-term funding certainty.

“In its pre-Budget submission, LASA has called for a funding increase of $10 per resident per day to put residential care providers on a sustainable footing and also seeking additional funding for rural and remote providers and the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, while the aged care royal commission does its important work on how to make aged care better,” he said.

The government will also spend $60 million on construction projects to build new aged care homes and extend others.

Those works will include renovations, extensions, improved kitchens, gardens and recreation facilities, solar power and better security and fire protection.

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