Budget: Stakeholders outline missed opportunities

May 3, 2016

Peak bodies have expressed disappointment that reform proposals recommended in the recent Aged Care Roadmap did not feature in last night’s budget, while Alzheimer’s Australia said the budget had overlooked the need for further investment in dementia care.

The Aged Care Sector Committee’s Aged Care Roadmap, released just over two weeks ago,outlined a series of recommendations for government, including the freeing up of supply in the sector and the creation of a single aged care system. Providers and consumer groups have called for bipartisan support of its proposals, and last week, Leading Age Services Australiasaid the Federal Budget would be a strong indicator of the government’s commitment to the roadmap.

However, last night’s budget did not address the roadmap’s key recommendations, nor has the government articulated a response to the roadmap itself since its release.

Aged and Community Services Australia said it was disappointed there was no substantial commitment to the implementation of any aspect of the Aged Care Roadmap in the budget.

“This needs to be expedited,” said CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

Similarly, Catholic Healthcare Australia (CHA) said it was disappointed that budget lacked a clear signal that the government would embark on the research and development work that the roadmap identified.

CHA said there remained a level of uncertainty among service providers, consumers, investors and financiers about the degree of commitment there is to work towards the consumer-driven aged care system the roadmap outlined.

Council of the Ageing (COTA) said the budget had missed opportunities to address what it called “core failures” in the aged care system.

COTA said it had, along with the roadmap and the National Aged Care Alliance, laid out a clear path for consumer-directed aged care reform over the next five years.

“This budget was a great opportunity for the government to commit to that process and timeframe for achieving this overdue reform,” chief executive Ian Yates said. “We will be forcefully arguing to all political parties to adopt this commitment as we move into the Federal election campaign.”

No new funding for dementia

Alzheimer’s Australia said the budget lacked new policies or programs to improve the lives of Australians living with dementia and their carers.

“At a time when dementia is the second leading cause of death and is projected to affect almost a million people by 2050 with significant economic and social costs to Australia, we need national investment to drive a co-ordinated approach from prevention through to cure,” said CEO Carol Bennett.

Ms Bennett said despite the lack of new funding, Alzheimer’s Australia remained hopeful that current initiatives in the pipeline, such as the funding of the National Institute for Dementia Research and the Medical Research Future Fund would “provide the hope for those living with dementia and their carers that they so desperately seek.”

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