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COTA submits Pre-Budget wishlist to Government

Peak body for older people, Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, has provided a Pre-Budget Submission to the Federal Government containing calls for action on aged care, health, retirement income and employment.

COTA wants implementation of their suggested measures by the Government as a part of the 2020/21 Federal Budget. [Source: Shutterstock]
COTA wants implementation of their suggested measures by the Government as a part of the 2020/21 Federal Budget. [Source: Shutterstock]

In the submission, COTA is asking for "greater choice, simplicity and more meaningful support for older people" ahead of this year's Federal Budget.

COTA wants implementation of their suggested measures by the Government as a part of the 2020/21 Federal Budget.

Within the submission, COTA has highlighted priority areas affecting older Australians which the organisation says need to be fixed, including suggestions to the Government that they take the Aged Care Royal Commission and other industry reviews into consideration.

Chief Executive of COTA Australia, Ian Yates, says the 2020/21 Budget must put aside further funds to ensure older Australians are receiving quality health, aged care and income support.

“The important reforms we hope to see from the Royal Commission into Aged Care will be crucial to the wellbeing and dignity of all Australians,” says Mr Yates. 

“We have submitted that significant funding must be allocated both to continue current reform initiatives and expedite urgent matters, including the reduction of home care package wait times to 60 days or less.

“The Government must respond by creating comprehensive, easily accessible information, assessment and case management services and programs to empower older Australians and provide the information they need to make and achieve their choices about their care and support. 

"This Budget should, in particular, include the implementation of an aged care navigation system and the abolition of the current Aged Care Approvals Round allocation process."

This is not the first time aged care peak bodies have made submissions to the Government around Budget increases for the industry. 

Multiple aged care peak bodies and charities banded together in December to highlight an oncoming new year aged care emergency, which seemed to fall on deaf ears of the Government.

No additional investment was put towards residential and home care services in the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), even after the industry campaign.

Submissions focus

COTA’s Pre-Budget Submission focuses on a number of areas:

Health - an increase to Federal funding of public dental services for older Australians and a trial of mobile dental services, and investment in preventative health programs.

Aged care - Continuation of promised reforms from Government and recommendations for previous inquiries. There is also an emphasis on reducing the Home Care Package waitlist, providing control to older Australians with their residential care funding and to remove the Aged Care Approvals Round, and increase training and staff numbers. 

Additionally, COTA wants additional funds prepared to implement recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report and to implement an Aged Care Navigation system.

Treasury - Funding for consumer consultations in the Retirement Incomes Review and the establishment of an independent body to advise Government on retirement incomes.

Skills and employment - More incentives for mature age employees to stay in aged care, including an ongoing tax reduction; developing specialist job seeker agencies who understand the needs of older workers, publish data on successful mature-aged applicants to Australian Public Service positions, and develop new initiatives to combat ageism and underemployment of older Australians.

Social services - Raise Newstart by at least $75 per week and implement indexing and benchmarking similar to the Age Pension, abolish Liquid Asset Waiting periods for older Australians, raise the maximum Commonwealth Rental Assistance by 40 percent for singles; and include older Australians with disability in the National Disability Strategy 2020.

Attorney General’s Department - Strengthen the capacity for the prosecution of discrimination under the Age Discrimination Act, and clarify that employers may encourage mature age applicants.

Mr Yates says, "Mature age employment is another issue the Budget must urgently address. Older Australians face blatant discrimination from employers while still below the retirement age, while many wish to continue work beyond that age. 

"COTA has recommended changes to the Age Discrimination Act for stronger action against discrimination and to clarify employers’ rights to encourage mature age applicants.

"I look forward to continuing to consult closely with the Government on these issues. This submission outlines how we can make this Budget as an opportunity to ensure a fair go for all Australians.”

To read the full submission, head to the COTA website here

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