Aged Care Taskforce report set for release

National Seniors Australia is anticipating the release late this month of final recommendations from the Aged Care Taskforce.

The report, which follows the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety set up in 2019, has been a long time coming.

National Seniors chief executive, Chris Grice, said a lot of good work had been done so far by the government to positively transform the sector and he was keen to see and evaluate the Task Force recommendations in full.

Mr Grice said National Seniors had been fortunate to be able to represent the views of older Australians by providing a submission to the Taskforce, which can be read here.

Aged Care Taskforce members were asked to provide advice supporting:

  • A stable policy path for the sector that encourages continuous improvement.

  • High quality care and an innovative and vibrant aged care sector that is driven to respond to the needs of older Australians.

  • A sustainable sector that can deliver consistent, high-quality care for generations of Australians.

In a communique issued after its final meeting on 15 December 2023, the Taskforce said, “The final package reflects feedback from the public consultations and targeted roundtables, and the Taskforce’s deliberations over the past six months.

“Members noted the proposed recommendations would create an aged care system that is simpler, more flexible, and transparent for older people.

“It would also enable the aged care sector to meet current and future funding challenges and support service quality and innovation.”

The Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, who chaired the Taskforce, is expected to release its recommendations at the end of this month.

Accountable and transparent

One key recommendation of the Royal commission that has already been implemented is the Office of the Inspector-General of Aged Care, which aims to be “a trusted authority that ensures integrity and accountability in the aged care system by providing informed and independent oversight”.

Former Council of the Ageing (COTA) chief executive, Ian Yates, has been appointed as the acting Inspector-General of Aged Care.

Mr Yates has said that the opening of the office “marks a new commitment to an accountable and transparent aged-care system”.

In remarks made last year, which were welcomed by National Seniors, Ms Wells said there would be a stronger focus on dementia through a 10-year action plan. More than 50% of people in residential care live with dementia.

National Seniors’ submission

In its submission to the Taskforce, National Seniors said supporting people to remain in their own home must be the priority – provided adequate support is available.

The submission noted that funding arrangements for aged care should be fair, simple, and transparent, saying that “the issue of appropriately trained workers is a key concern, especially in residential care where there is a need for workers to have skills in nursing, dementia care, and end-of-life care”.

National Seniors said it was also critical to ensure adequate investment in the construction and refurbishment of residential aged care accommodation to meet future demand.

The submission also called for greater financial literacy around aged care and health care planning in older age.

It notes that regardless of which reform options are chosen, they should be increased slowly over time to give people time to adjust.

The submission says, “Similar approaches have been adopted in other policy areas, such as the increase in the Superannuation Guarantee and the Age Pension eligibility age, and government would do well to adopt a similar approach in aged care.”

/Public Release. View in full here.