Federal Budget 2018: Stronger support for aged care needed

Aged care requires urgent funding support in the 2018–19 Federal Budget.

Aged care needs Budget support

If the rumours coming out of Canberra are to be believed, the Government will be splashing plenty of cash around when it delivers the Federal Budget next week in Canberra. But, will any of that money make it through to the sectors that are desperately crying out for funding?

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) CEO Sean Rooney advocates that aged care requires urgent funding support in the 2018–19 Federal Budget to ensure quality services are available for older Australians where and when they need them.

According to Mr Rooney, one of the key aged care priorities of the Federal Budget should be additional support for residential aged care providers to address financial sustainability concerns driven by the combination of increased costs and reduced Government subsidies.

Funding for over 100,000 older Australians on the home care national queue who are assessed as requiring care at home, but unable to access a home care package commensurate with their assessed level of need should also be a high priority in this year’s Budget, according to Mr Rooney.

Mr Rooney said a ‘stronger Australian economy’ has delivered much higher revenue to Government, thereby providing increased capacity to support aged care.

“I am calling on the Federal Government to prioritise the care of older Australians,” Mr Rooney said.

The Government has recently announced $4.8 billion of additional revenue from higher than estimated tax receipts to the Commonwealth.

“This revenue provides scope to address the needs of the growing number of older Australians.”

Mr Rooney said recent changes to residential care funding arrangements have contributed to a squeeze on the cost of delivering care and on the sustainability of provider organisations.

“While overall Government subsidies in residential aged care are growing year on year, this is largely addressing the increasing number of residents being cared for rather than the complex actual needs of these residents,” Mr Rooney said.

“In particular, the Aged Care Funding Instrument simply allocates a fixed pool of funds and is not suitably responsive to the level of frailty among residents.”

New data recently released by independent industry analyst StewartBrown shows that 41 per cent of residential aged care providers were making a loss as at December 2017 compared with 31 per cent in 2015–16, and the situation is predicted to get even worse.

The inability of aged care providers to turn a profit has an effect on the continuity of residential care services, as well as on investment in new residential care facilities and on refurbishing existing ones.

With Australia predicted to need another 83,500 beds over the next 10 years to meet the rising demand, the Government needs to address the situation quickly.

“Similarly, we have seen the national queue for home care packages continue to grow to over 100,000, with some on the waiting list forced into residential care sooner than they would prefer due to unavailability of packages, which is costing government even more,” Mr Rooney said.

“Unless there is urgent action in the 2018–19 Budget that addresses these issues, there will be significant impacts for older Australians, age services providers and the Government.”

What do you think? Does aged care need more Federal Government support in this year's Budget?

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    COMMENTS

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    Rae
    2nd May 2018
    11:43am
    My Goodness the shock of it all. Pity no one in government can understand those ABS reports from the census or they'd know the boomers were aging and how many there are and possibly been prepared for it.

    Sorry. Yes I'm cynical. Waste of time and money for all these surveys and reports.

    Why are the aged care providers not making enough money? Is it rapid expansions, overgenerous board and management packages or indulgences to shareholders?

    It certainly isn't staffing costs or food or medical aid.
    KSS
    2nd May 2018
    12:11pm
    They are not saying they don't make enough money Rae, they say they don't make a profit. There's a difference. And a big one!
    Rae
    2nd May 2018
    1:30pm
    Oh. Thanks KSS. It does make a huge difference.
    KSS
    2nd May 2018
    12:10pm
    "...41 per cent of residential aged care providers were making a loss as at December 2017 compared with 31 per cent in 2015–16..."

    This couldn't possibly be because the funding is now in the hands of those requiring care to allow them to 'spend' their allocation in the manner they wish including obtaining care in their own home, now could it?

    2nd May 2018
    12:51pm
    Here we go again. Budget time every year brings out those pushing their own barrow. Not enough for pensioners, not enough for education, not enough for health, not enough for law enforcement and the list goes on and on and on. No budget ever, regardless of which government handed it down, has been applauded by all sections of the community.
    GeorgeM
    3rd May 2018
    8:36pm
    You missed - Not enough tax cuts for big business and the wealthy!!!
    Maybe many of them can't pay less than zero!
    GrayComputing
    2nd May 2018
    3:46pm
    WE CAN IMPROVE PENSIONS AND STIL REDUCE THE BUDGET
    Dear PM MPs and senators
    It is time for the government (and for all of us to rant at them) to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVERV AGAIN!
    A pension is not welfare.

    For the retired and retiring people in your electorate do you think they really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules
    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly,

    As an MP do you really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    As a MP you even stand to lose your chance at being part of the government unless all these criminal asset tests for a pension are dropped now.

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
    GeorgeM
    3rd May 2018
    8:45pm
    Absolutely, GrayComputing, all concerned need to do as you have done and put maximum pressure on their MPs, with threat of votes going against them. I believe all should ask to be paid Universal Pension without any tests (other than Residence of say 15 years, and Age 65) - may stop all envy politics and give a fair go for all, and with NO CENTRELINK harassment ever again.

    And, failing that (which is likely), all should put their current seat-warmer MPs last in preferences at the next election ti get them OUT.

    Funding is also important - a Minimum Tax system is long overdue to ensure all (large companies & the wealthy in particular) pay their fair share of taxes, i.e. not NIL or Negligible taxes as many do. That would fix it entirely.
    Beeman
    2nd May 2018
    8:13pm
    Surely the means tests are essential, GrayComputing.If we scrapped them, there would be a big rise in the number of unemployed and politicians can't afford that.