Home | News | $135m for rural, remote and First Nations aged cares
New investments to improve access to aged care services have been announced by Aged Care Minister Anika Wells (left) and Indigenous Australians Assistant Minister Malarndirri McCarthy (right). Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman and Brendan Radke.

$135m for rural, remote and First Nations aged cares

The Minister for Aged Care announced new investments to improve access to aged care services for First Nations, rural, and remote communities.

An investment of $135m for the Aged Care Capital Assistance Program (ACCAP) grants will be used to directly support aged care providers located outside major cities, in a move "to build and modernise services so Older Australians can access the aged care they need".

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, ACCAP aims to maintain or increase access to quality aged care services in "thin market settings", such as people from First Nation communities, people living in regional, rural, and remote areas, people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and people with other complex and diverse needs like dementia.

The investment currently builds on an existing $115m that will be used to build four culturally safe National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFACP) services in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians Malarndirri McCarthy welcomed the funding.

"The Albanese Government is committed to improving aged care and health services for First Nations Elders and supporting them to remain close to their families and communities," Ms McCarthy said.

"This significant investment demonstrates that commitment and will see important infrastructure upgrades at facilities across the country.

"Elders play such an important role in our communities and it's essential they are provided the very best care and support."

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Indigenous Australians accounted for one per cent of people living in residential aged care, 2.4 per cent of people using home care, 0.6 per cent of people using transition care, and 2.7 per cent of people using home support.

Under the NATSIFACP service, 1264 aged care places were provided through 42 aged cares nationally.

Almost 61 per cent of these places were for home care, 28.8 per cent for high-care residential care, and 10.3 per cent for low-care residential care.

Forty-eight per cent of the NATSIFACP places were for Australians living in the NT.

There were no places in the ACT; the lowest at two per cent was for those in NSW.

The first round of ACCAP will deliver 76 infrastructure projects that will upgrade aged care homes, build new staff accommodation, improve services for older people at risk of homelessness, and enhance cultural care for older First Nations people.

More than $60m will be awarded across 30 locations to support aged care providers to upgrade and expand their aged care homes, increase the number of beds and improve home care service delivery to better meet the needs of First Nations communities in remote and very remote locations.

$49m will support 27 providers in addressing shortages in staff accommodation, attracting and retaining more workers to meet 24/7 RN requirements better, increasing care minutes, and reducing reliance on agency staff.

$22m will support eight specialised services to improve access to aged care for older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

$3m will enable 11 NATSIFACP providers to deliver more culturally appropriate care in First Nations communities.

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said the grants were to be used to create "home-like" environments and ensure older Australians felt safe.

"We want older people to feel at home, to be safe and have the support they deserve regardless of where they live," Ms Wells said.

"These grants are about creating more home-like environments for residents, giving them access to comfortable and modern amenities, more liveable spaces and less shared rooms.

"These capital grants ensure appropriate supports are in place for aged care providers to maintain the viability and sustainability of their operations, especially in areas of need."

The full breakdown of the grants is below.

Picture: Supplied/Aged Care Minister Anika Wells
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