Peak aged care advocacy bodies demand swift action on new Aged Care Act

Media Release: Peak aged care advocacy bodies demand swift action on new Aged Care Act, warn against further delays

Reports the Federal Government could delay the implementation of a new Aged Care Act until 2025 are deeply concerning, leading advocates for older Australians say.

Leaked internal departmental communications suggest the crucial reforms – which were a key recommendation of the Aged Care Royal Commission – will not be implemented by July 1 as was previously committed to by the Federal Government. The same leak indicates the Bill would be presented to Parliament by June 2024.

Peak advocacy bodies, COTA Australia and Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) say any delay to the introduction of the Aged Care Act would be a blow to the rights of older Australians.

Patricia Sparrow, Chief Executive Officer of COTA Australia – the leading advocacy organisation for older people:

“Older Australians want to get aged care set up right, now and into the future, but it doesn’t mean we need to move at a glacial pace. The idea of pushing back this vital legislation to as late as July 2025 is simply unacceptable.”

“Introducing the Bill for Parliamentary scrutiny by June 2024 is appropriate. Parliament provides the ideal platform for conducting the next level of public consultation on all aspects of the Bill through a senate inquiry, including the examination of consolidated rules and subordinate legislation.”

Craig Gear OAM, Chief Executive Officer of OPAN:

“Older people cannot wait another 15 months for their rights to be enshrined in legislation.”

“While work is required to incorporate the extensive feedback provided by older people, their families and other people with an interest in aged care into the new Aged Care Act, we believe the time frame being suggested by aged care providers to be overly conservative if not excessive.”

“Government has heard from all stakeholders, including older people, that factoring in transition time for some components of the Act would be appropriate, but we need the legislation introduced mid-year and passed by the end of the year.”

As the Aged Care Royal Commission said, the current Aged Care Act is not fit for purpose. We stand by our call to see the new Aged Care Act enacted this year. COTA and OPAN are ready and willing to work with the Australian Government and aged care providers around the transition and implementation time frame.

/Public Release. View in full here.