As a growing sector, with an ageing population and more choice than ever before, it is no surprise that aged care is being asked to be top of the agenda, particularly by aged care advocacy groups and peak bodies.
Among those making Budget submissions is seniors advocacy group National Seniors, who have used the opportunity to have their say to also make note of issues that are concerning to them, and their rally of members.
Their submission calls for Government to double the number of level three and four home care packages to “ease current shortages”, increase the Work Bonus, accelerate reforms to lower power costs, and adding the importance of an improved accreditation system for aged care facilities.
National Seniors Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke, says their submission also included the survey of their members, many of whom are on low incomes.
“One in three age pensioners said increasing the Work Bonus, which we argue should be lifted to $10,000pa, would enable them to continue in paid employment,” Mr Henschke says.
“Most Age Pensioners also cited the adequacy of the pension as the issue of most concern to them.”
Mr Henschke notes that many seniors are “unable to pay” for air conditioning and heating because of “spiralling energy costs” and while commending the Government for their efforts in that area, he says they have come “too late” for many older people.
This is why he says the Government should retain the energy supplement and accelerate reforms to lower power costs.
National Seniors also called on the Government to double the number of level three and four home care packages to ease the current shortages for the more than 100,000 seniors currently on the waiting list, stating that “if they can’t get the care they need, taxpayers will again be picking up the tab when they are forced into residential aged care because they cannot look after themselves at home”.
Aged care peak body Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) also put forward their own Budget submission earlier in the year calling for a similar focus on increasing home care packages.
Their submission states that for supporting people in their own home the Government should release more home care packages to “directly reduce the number of clients waiting from over 100,000 people” and to ensure “timely allocation of packages” among other suggestions.
Decisions on the Budget are currently underway with the release date for the 2018-19 Federal Budget announced for Tuesday, 8 May 2018.