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Australian Aged Care Minister Anika Wells addressed the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch.

New task force weighs up consumer contributions

An expert group has been assembled to rethink the aged care funding model and put 'people's rights at the centre of the system.'

Yesterday, Aged Care Minister Anika Wells revealed the new task force would consider taxpayer levies and consumer contributions to meet the ageing populations' needs.

"The baby boomers are coming," Ms Well said during her speech at the National Press Club.

"We must be innovative to address this challenge and need a sustainable funding model.

"We must act now."

The task force, chaired by Ms Wells, will commence within the next few weeks and outline its recommendations in the new Aged Care Act next year.

The expert group will advise the government on reforms in funding, means assessment, service types, consumer contributions, and pricing in aged care.

It'll deliver its interim advice in October 2023, with final recommendations expected in December 2023.

Former Treasury official Nigel Ray was named deputy chair.

Other notable individuals include former NSW premier Mike Baird, former Finance Department secretary Rosemary Huxtable, COTA chief Patricia Sparrow, StewartBrown senior accountant Grant Corderoy and University of Canberra professor Tom Calma.

Ms Wells said the board comprised a strong union representation to ensure workers' perspectives were effectively heard.

"We are not taking a patch-and-paint approach to this process," she said.

"We are going to need a fair and equitable system to meet the needs of baby boomers."

The federal move comes after repeated calls from sector stakeholders to review the funding arrangement as 63 per cent of aged care homes are balancing on a financial cliff.

The Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), a prominent advocate in the industry, has emphasised that consumer co-contributions could resolve funding challenges.

Tom Symondson, the head of ACCPA, will provide valuable insights and guidance to the task force as he was also appointed a panel member.

"We're grateful the Government is including ACCPA into such an important conversation that will affect all Australians," Mr Symondson said.

"It's vital we get the model right, not just in terms of budget, but for the older Australians we serve.

"Because demand in aged care is only going to grow."

It's estimated that demand will double within ten years as the generation born between 1946 and 1964 will enter aged care.

Representing over 20 per cent of Australia's population, baby boomers are expected to require higher levels of care.

Liz Gill from the University of Sydney said the group preferred to maintain control and was 'not frightened to speak up.'

"They've been very vocal about the fact that the current system is unacceptable to them," Ms Gill said.

"We need to overturn the whole model.

"But it will also depend on what the baby boomer cohort will do."

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One comment

  1. Not sure that baby boomers will want to enter aged care – not that there are/were many from any generation who “wanted” to enter aged care – and to be brutally frank who can blame them

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