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The Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022 passed the Senate on Tuesday. Picture: Gary Ramage/NCA NewsWire.

Major royal commission reforms pass through parliament

The Albanese government has passed its first piece of major aged care legislation, enshrining an updated code of conduct for providers, a five star rating system for residential care homes, and mapping out the details of a new funding regime.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the government took a "significant step" to ensure older Australians received the care they deserved.

“Having an aged care bill in response to the royal commission become the first to pass through parliament shows how seriously we take reform in the sector," Albanese said.

“I made promises to the Australian people to improved aged care and inside our first ten weeks we have begun delivering on those promises."

The new aged care subsidy funding model, the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC), is due to be implemented from 1 October 2022.

The Department of Health and Aged Care will also publish star ratings for all residential aged care services by the end of 2022.

“After nine years of neglect, reform in aged care has finally begun and will continue to be driven so our most vulnerable people are treated with the dignity they deserve," said Aged Care Minister Anika Wells.

The legislation included measures to extend the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) to all in‑home care providers, which will come into effect starting 1 December 2022.

A new code of conduct for providers will also be implemented by the end of this year.

Sector leaders have welcomed the bill's passage, with UWU aged care director Carolyn Smith saying the reforms offered "the hope that the dark days of neglect are nearing an end”.

HSU president Gerard Hayes said the laws were an important step forward, but stressed a need to further develop workforce levels and staffing standards.

“Our industry will not be fixed overnight and will require significantly greater resources," Hayes said.

“For too long, the aged care system has exploited the time and goodwill of an underpaid, insecurely employed workforce largely made up of women.

"For the first time there is a crack of light at the end of the tunnel."

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One comment

  1. more stop gap measures to fill an huge gaping hole in a very dysfunctional broken down system, it’s time to introduce real reforms that are going to make a difference, such as legislating to ensure all people working in direct care have a minimum Certificate 3 level qualification from a quality training organisation, not a dodgy RTO that trains up carers in 6 weeks. Legislate legal ratios for staff to residents, how on earth are you going to monitor and ensure carers are spending certain amount of times with residents each day? Ensure nurses are paid at the same level they get paid at in the hospital sector. Educate and raise awareness to promote the value of working in this sector, carers are leaving aged care in droves, they are exhausted, undervalued and underpaid, who could blame them? More accountability that providers spend their government funding on the care not going towards profits for share holders.

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