The Gillard Government believes that every Australian, no matter where they live and what their financial means, deserves high quality aged care. That’s why today we introduced Australia’s biggest reform to aged care in 15 years.
Under current arrangements, older people are often forced to quickly sell the family home to pay a bond – up to $2.6 million – to get a place in a residential aged care facility. Older people with different assets and income are also paying the same amount for care, and the quality of aged care varies amongst providers.
By investing $3.7 billion and building a modern aged care system, the Federal Government will:
- Help older people to live independently in their own homes longer by providing a range of high quality in-home care choices and increase the number of Home Care Packages from 59,876 to almost 100,000;
- Cap costs, so that full pensioners pay no more than the basic fee;
- Ensure more older people get to keep their family home by providing more choice about how to pay for care such as through a lump sum or a periodic payment, introducing a ‘cooling-off’ period before payment and capping costs so nobody pays more than $25,000 a year and no more than $600,000 over a lifetime;
To ensure that there are immediate improvements as well, the Federal Government will also:
- Increase residential aged care places from 191,522 to 221,103
- Fund $1.2 billion to improve the aged care workforce through a Workforce Compact
- Inject $270 million into dementia care in aged care, and more support for services
- Establish a single gateway to all aged care services to make them easier to access and navigate
- Set stricter standards, with greater oversight of aged care.
Under our plan, older Australians will now contribute to the cost of their aged care based on their capacity to pay – making the system fairer.
There will be annual and lifetime caps on care costs and hardship provisions for those in need. Importantly, the Government will invest heavily in better quality aged care options and better skilled staff so older people get the best care possible.
Furthermore, the 1 million older Australians in the system now won’t pay a cent more for the home or residential care they already use.