Federal budget disappoints aged care provider

May 5, 2016

IRT chief executive Nieves Murray has slammed the Federal Government’s decision to slash $1.2 billion from the budget for nursing home residents with complex health care needs.

‘’What this means is that the government expects providers like IRT to deliver the same high quality aged care, with less funding,’’ she said. 

‘’I understand the government needs to live within its means, but I’m worried such a significant funding cut will erode the ability of providers to deliver aged care to all those who need it.’’ 

Ms Nieves also expressed concerns over the lack of new funding in the budget to help tackle the country’s growing dementia rates.

She was also disappointed that reform proposals recommended in the recent Aged Care Roadmap did not feature in the budget.

‘’We’re eager for the government to progress its aged care reforms to give customers more choice and control over how they age,’’ she said. 

Ms Murray said the budget also did little to improve housing affordability for seniors. ‘’Older Australians, particularly pensioners, are struggling to find affordable, appropriate housing.’’

IRT has joined the Property Council of Australia in calling for Federal Government incentives for the states to fix their planning systems. 

‘’We need more affordable housing and flexible planning laws that encourage innovative buildings,’’ she said. ‘’The budget was largely silent on this critical issue.’’

The Turnbull Government claims it is increasing its overall investment in aged care to $17.8 billion in its 2016-17 budget; an increase of 7.7 per cent on 2015-16.

Minister for Aged Care Sussan Ley said the current aged care funding model would be improved by redesigning certain aspects of the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) to stabilise higher than expected growth. 

‘’Expenditure on the ACFI is expected to blow out by $3.8 billion over the next four years without action. 

‘’This reform aims to maintain sustainable funding growth for the residential aged care sector and will save taxpayers $1.2 billion over four years.’’ 

Ms Ley said the Turnbull Government would continue to deliver ‘’consumer-centred aged care services’’, with reforms that would improve access in rural and remote locations, as well as $136.6 million to ensure the My Aged Care contact centre met rapidly growing demand. 

‘’These measures are part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing commitment to broader aged care reform and support the rollout of the Coalition’s recent law change ensuring an older Australian’s home care package follows them if they change location – putting consumers, not the aged care provider, in charge of their later years.’’

Meantime Ms Murray did welcome the budget announcement of additional help for people who take a break from the workforce or were on low-incomes to boost their super. 

‘’Women often fall into both these categories,’’ she said. 

‘’In March, Monash University found that one in three older women are living in poverty in Australia and women who retire at 65 will generally have only a third of the super that men accrue. That's why these budget measures are so important.’’


Read more at http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/3890936/fears-over-aged-care-cuts/

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