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Aged Care Royal Commission extended and new Commissioner added to lineup

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has received approval from Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a six month extension to the hearings, also announcing a third Commissioner is joining the bench, the Honourable Gaetano Tony Pagone QC.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has received a six month extension to continue investigating issues in the aged care sector. [Source: Shutterstock]
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has received a six month extension to continue investigating issues in the aged care sector. [Source: Shutterstock]

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, thanked the Morrison Government for deciding to extend the time frame of the Commission hearings

“This Government has aged care front and centre of its agenda as one of our key priorities,” says Mr Colbeck.

“We have committed to invest over $90 billion into the sector over the next four years to enable senior Australians to remain in their homes for longer, support their choices, have their needs better understood and improve their quality of life.

“It is important that our aged care sector continues to provide high quality care and that we understand where we can make improvements.”

Mr Colbeck welcomed Mr Pagone to the Commission and says he looks forward to the comprehensive analysis of the Royal Commission and their recommendations at the end of the inquiry.

Commissioner Pagone will have full authority as Chair of the Commission during any period when the Honourable Richard Tracy AM RFD QC is not present for a hearing or unable to perform his duties of the Chair.

Mr Pagone is a retired judge from the Federal Court of Australia, where he was the national coordinating judge of the Taxation National Practice area.

He also previously served as a judge for the Supreme Court of Victoria and was the judge-in-charge of the Commercial Court in Victoria.

Mr Pagone holds a Bachelor of Law from Monash University, which he graduated from in 1979, and graduated in 1983 with a Master of Law from Cambridge University.

National industry peak body, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), has welcomed the six month extension announcement and the new Commissioner addition.

Chief Executive Officer of LASA, Sean Rooney, says this extension allows for a deeper investigation into the problems in aged care, but believes that changes need to be made to the sector now and can’t wait until the end of the Royal Commission.

“The aged care sector fully supports the Royal Commission’s hearings, roundtable discussions and consultation around the country. This is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to make the aged care system better for all older Australians, now and into the future, and we must get it right,” Mr Rooney says.

”However, we cannot delay action on making the aged care system better right now, by addressing the key issues of access to services, funding of services, quality of services and supporting the workforce that delivers these services.

“Our members are telling us that their ability to consistently deliver high standards of care and service that older Australians expect and deserve are being constrained by continued financial pressure. Many organisations are likely to reduce services, reduce staffing and/or reduce investment without funding relief.”

Mr Rooney is asking for urgent action before Christmas to avoid the risk of service failures, job losses and poor care by the end of the year.

“The sector seeks to work with Government as a matter of urgency so we can ensure the delivery of high standards of care and services,” says Mr Rooney.

“We all want a safe, high quality and high performing aged care system. Older Australians need it and older Australians deserve nothing less.”

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