Another delay for home care program

The Support at Home program will now commence on 1 July 2025, the government has announced in this week’s budget.

The new in-home care program will now commence on 1 July 2025 in response to stakeholder feedback and to allow time to further refine the design, the government has announced in this week’s budget.

Subsequently, existing grant arrangements for the Commonwealth Home Support Program will be extended for a further 12 months to 30 June 2025.

There’s a total of $172 million over four years allocated to home care reform in the budget papers, including $700,000 for the new aged care taskforce in 2023–24, which will inform the design of Support at Home and develop options for a fairer and more equitable aged care system. Other initiatives within that funding envelope are:

  • $10.9 million over two years for a trial of an assistive technology loans program
  • $73.1 million in 2023–24 for ICT capability development
  • $15.7 million over two years for single comprehensive assessment.

The key aged care announcement in Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ second budget however, was the $11.3 billion to fund the 15 per cent pay rise for more than 250,000 aged care workers including those in the home care sector – which was revealed in the pre-budget announcement we reported on last Thursday. Paying for this includes an increase over four years of:

  • $2.2 billion in Home Care Packages program subsidies
  • $310 million Commonwealth Home Support Program grants
  • $236.8 million in flexible aged care programs funding
  • $82.5 million in Veterans’ Home Care and Community Nursing fees.

It also adds $8.5 billion in residential aged care funding as well as $98.7 million in funding for leave liabilities in 2023-24.

Jim Chalmers delivering his budget night speech

In his budget speech, Mr Chalmers praised aged care workers and said the pay rise would help retain, reward and recruit the hard working people who cared for people’s loved ones as they grew old. “The message from our government to the aged care workers of Australia is very simple: you deserve every cent.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday night, Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler added that aged care workers had been undervalued and underpaid for too long and that this wage increase was the right thing to do.

Mark Butler

“This budget continues our strong agenda on aged care, increasing our workforce and improving care, transparency and accountability in the sector.”

Overall, the aged care budget handed down last night includes $36 billion in funding in 2023-24.

For home care, that also includes $166.8 million for 9,500 additional home care packages to be released in 2023-24. There’s also $11.9 million to expand the quality indicator program to in-home care services.

Elsewhere in this year’s budget is:

  • $25.3 million next financial year for a preliminary report on the capability review of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
  • $59.4 million in 2023-24 for a new regulatory model and $12.9 million in 2023-24 for a prudential framework to go with the new Act
  • $81.9 million over three years to develop and deliver a Bill and associated technology changes for the new Act
  • $59.5 million over four years to progress the National Worker Registration Scheme
  • $47.2 million over four years for rural and remote integrated services and workforce including establishing new First Nations assessment organisations
  • $77.3 million over four years for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program
  • $8.2 million to build the capacity of Aboriginal Controlled Organisations to ensure on Country services
  • $1.6 million to fund an interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner
  • $487 million over four years to extend the Disability Support for Older Australians program
Anika Wells

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said the government was ambitious for aged care and determined to ensure older people received safe, high quality support.

“This budget meets these challenges head-on, with targeted and responsible investments that put the health, wellbeing and dignity of older Australians receiving aged care front and centre.”

Main image: Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivers the budget speech to parliament

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Tags: Anika Wells, Budget2023, featured, mark butler, Support at Home Program,

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