Huge call: ‘Largest in Australia’s history’
The aged care sector is set to be given a $10 billion boost over the next four years in what has been dubbed a "major overhaul" of the system.
This week's federal budget is set to deliver the much-needed funds after recommendations by the Royal Commission into Aged Care which uncovered shocking reports of neglect within the system.
In the overhaul of the aged care sector, it is expected the money will go towards addressing understaffing issues, support for the elderly to stay in their own homes and more resources for residential facilities.
At present, there are an estimated 200,000 elderly Australians in aged care facilities.
Health Minister Greg Hunt described the deal as the "largest package in Australia's history".
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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government is committed to fixing the problems that the royal commission highlighted in its report which it handed down earlier this year.
"We've had a royal commission which has indicated that the sector is in dire need of reform," Mr Frydenberg said.
"We have an ageing population and it's not just about spending more money, it's also about ensuring that that money is well spent and our focus is on governance, workforce issues, the quality of aged care services."
Mr Hunt said the allocation of the funds in the budget would help the Government "respond in full" to the royal commission's recommendations.
"One of the important things that we have here is a response to the royal commission, which is based on ensuring that we have respect and care, and dignity," Mr Hunt said.
He said the Government's aim was to "make sure that aged care is accessible and as available as possible for as many as possible".
In Tuesday’s #Budget2021, the Morrison Government will provide more funding for essential services, including mental health, disability support and more than $10 billion over the forward estimates for aged care. pic.twitter.com/cWdN7dXPGh— Josh Frydenberg (@JoshFrydenberg) May 9, 2021
A report by the Grattan Institute said $10 billion was needed per year to help fix a sector riddled with problems.
Grattan Institute health program director Stephen Duckett and associate Anika Stobart wrote in a piece for The Conversation that the sector needed "a complete overhaul".
"Australia's aged care system is in a state of disaster. The aged care royal commission's final report … is just the latest in a decades-long string of depressing reports and inquiries exposing horrific abuse, neglect and systemic failures," they wrote.
"Aged care needs a complete overhaul. Piecemeal reform will not be enough."
$10 billion over 4 years is not enough to fix our broken aged care system, much more is needed #agedcare— Rachel Siewert (@SenatorSiewert) May 9, 2021
In March, the aged care royal commission released its final report, outlining 148 recommendations as part of an extensive overhaul of the sector.
At least one in three people accessing residential aged care and home care services have experienced substandard care, the report concluded.
Assaults could be as high as almost one in five in residential care, where almost half have concerns about staff, and there was "a clear overuse" of physical and chemical restraints.
Studies have also revealed that two in three nursing home residents were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, while the commission heard "horrific accounts" of substandard skincare.
Some felt the money didn't come close to what was needed to fix aged care in Australia.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert tweeted: "$10 billion over four years is not enough to fix our broken aged care system, much more is needed."
Similarly, Labor's aged care spokesman Mark Butler said cost of answering all the recommendations in the royal commission's report would cost "way more" than $10 billion.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the response to the royal commission report would test the government, including the May federal budget.
But he said generational change was needed to put the individual and needs-based care at the centre of the aged care system.
"Life is to be lived every single second, every single minute. It is precious," Mr Morrison said.
"The fact that Australians feel they are waiting out their life, it's impossible to put into words how you respond to that.
"So generational change is needed."
The funding package will help address five key areas: home care, residential aged care quality and safety, residential aged care services and sustainability, workforce, and governance.
Originally published as Huge call: 'Largest in Australia's history'