Home | Industry & Reform | $200 million more capital assistance to regions

$200 million more capital assistance to regions

The Albanese government has announced round two of the Aged Care Capital Assistance Program, making a further $200 million available to regional residential aged care providers.

Successful grant applicants will have access the funding package, in addition to the $135 million invested in round one of the program in May of this year.

Grants can be used for the establishment of new facilities or to update existing ones, and for maintenance and safety improvements and staff accommodation.

The program aims to improve the quality aged care for older people living in regional, rural and remote communities, First Nations people, those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and older people with complex needs.

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said that she has seen firsthand the improvements a modern environment can make on older people's wellbeing.

“This $200 million in funding will provide the support some of our regional and rural providers need to bring their facilities into the modern era and create beautiful, caring environments.   

“Beyond the regions and the bush, this is also an exciting opportunity for city-based providers with the necessary skills and experience to deliver projects that provide care to First Nations people.”

However, with round two of the program, the Department of Health and Aged Care has extended eligibility to include all regional areas, providing support to aged care providers across regional centres to very remote communities (MM2-7).

Whiddon Care CEO Chris Mamarelis said that while the grant program is a step in the right direction, expanding the location criteria for grant applicants will only heighten the competition for funds.

"The prior round demonstrated the need for this funding as it was oversubscribed by about $1 billion. As an industry we really need this funding and we need more if we are serious about committing to aged care in the regions and supporting those communities," Mr Mamarelis said.

"We welcome the opportunity as we have a number of critical projects that rely on these [grants] and are dependent on future funding for their success.

"Without an injection from the Capital Assistance grants it's very hard to justify the development and construction that is so badly needed.

"We owe it to our communities to continue to grow and develop our homes."

The grant program will also be accepting applications from metropolitan areas if the funds are to be used to improve access to quality care for First Nations people.

Minister Wells reiterated that "the choice to enter residential aged care shouldn’t mean a choice to leave your community," and the government has already allocated $115 million to the construction of four National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program facilities.

At the announcement of the program Malarndirri McCarthy, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians, said that providing services to allow First Nations Elders to age within their community is of high priority.

“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," she said.

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

The program has made up to $605.7 million available until 30 June 2027, after which the program has committed a minimum yearly amount of $161 million on an ongoing basis.

Applications for round two close at 2pm AEST on Thursday 29 August 2024.

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