Input sought on Aged Care Act redraft

The government is seeking feedback from providers, stakeholders, older people, their families and carers on the framework of the new Aged Care Act.

The government is seeking feedback from providers, stakeholders, older people, their families and carers on the framework of the new Aged Care Act.

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells posted a video message on social media Wednesday urging interested parties to have their say.

Noting that the Aged Care Act was created in 1997 by the Howard government, Ms Wells said: “And 30 years later, it still focuses on how providers run their services – not on the rights and needs of older people.”

The revised Act – which will come into effect from 1 July 2024 – “puts older people at the front and centre of aged care,” said Ms Wells.

Developed by the Department of Health and Aged Care, a consultation paper outlining the proposed foundations of the new Act is online awaiting people’s comments.

Opinions are also sought on:

  • the Statement of Rights
  • the Statement of Principles
  • the definition of high-quality care
  • a new duty of care and compensation pathways
  • protections for whistle-blowers
  • embedding supported decision-making
  • eligibility for Commonwealth-funded aged care services.

Peak advocacy bodies – Council on the Ageing Australia and Older Persons Advocacy Network – will host a series of forums across the country over the coming weeks seeking input from older Australians.

Craig Gear

“Older people are at the coal face of aged care. They have firsthand experience of what works, and what doesn’t,” OPAN CEO Craig Gear told Community Care Review.

Their feedback is important, said Mr Gear. “Not only can older people, their families and carers help the government understand community expectations, they are in a unique position to identify gaps in the system. They can also provide rich and detailed information about how Australia can better deliver aged care.”

Patricia Sparrow

A redrafted rights-based Aged Care Act was a key recommendation of the royal commission. “It’s great that the federal government is finally opening up the conversation about what an Aged Care Act that truly delivers for older Australians looks like,” said COTA Australia CEO Patricia Sparrow.

“Improving our Aged Care Act is critical if we’re going to improve our aged care system. We need laws which put the needs of older Australians front and centre.”

As it stands, the present Act is “largely divorced from the human experience of older people,” said Mr Gear. “We can’t improve older people’s experience without an Aged Care Act that respects, protects and enforces their rights.”

Interested parties are invited to read the consultation paper and send the department feedback. This can be done by:

Feedback on the paper will inform draft legislation for the new Act, which will be released at the end of the year for public consultation.

“Australia is at an aged care crossroads. The actions we take over the next 12 months will be crucial,” said Mr Gear. “Since older people are the experts in their aged care, we need their input on this major piece of reform to ensure we get it right.”

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Tags: Aged Care Act, Anika Wells, cota australia, Craig Gear, opan,

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