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Eyes on budget for reform signals, as Labor cautions against ‘rush’

Aged care providers believe Tuesday’s budget will be an indicator of the Coalition’s commitment to the new reform roadmap, while bipartisan support for the next stage of reforms now appears unlikely.

It’s now 10 days since the Aged Care Roadmap was released, and neither the Federal Government nor the opposition parties have provided a response to the recommendations it contained.

Yesterday peak body Leading Age Services Australia said that next Tuesday’s budget would be a strong indicator of the Federal Government’s commitment to the Aged Care Roadmap.

Funding stability was core to transforming aged care into a consumer-driven and market-based system but “indications” that aged care would again be targeted for cost-savings in the upcoming budget “place in question the government’s true commitment to a sustainable aged care industry,” the peak said.

  • What’s in the roadmap? Read AAA’s report here

While stakeholders last week called on government and the opposition parties to provide bipartisan support for the next stage of reforms, that now appears unlikely.

Shadow Minister for Ageing Shayne Neumann told an industry conference this morning that implementation issues with the current Living Longer Living Better measures need to be resolved before any further reforms are embarked on.

“I believe the current reforms need to be embedded and proven to be effective before we rush to make new changes,” Mr Neumann told the Home Modifications Australia conference today.

“The first thing we need to do before making any more changes is fix My Aged Care.”

Arguing the current reforms had been “poorly implemented” Mr Neumann said the roadmap “wants to take us down the path of greater consumer control and choice, but implies a greater financial commitment from consumers… I believe we need time to evaluate and assess the impact of the current reforms in detail before we head down that path.”

Meanwhile, LASA argued that without funding stability, the actions required to transform the industry – such as workforce training, enhanced dementia care, and continuous improvement to achieve quality service provision – would be in jeopardy.

“Government assistance in these areas is especially necessary for not-for-profit providers and those in rural areas who incur significantly higher costs in most areas of operation,” it said.

“LASA calls on the Treasurer and Minister for Aged Care to ensure next week’s Federal Budget provides funding stability for age service providers as proof that this Government is truly committed to the Aged Care Roadmap,” the peak said.

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