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Discontinued ACAR system releases last funding round

The latest 2020 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) funding has been announced today, providing $150 million to 72 different infrastructure projects and additional residential aged care places.

The ACAR has been discontinued by the Government and will be replaced by a new system. [Source: Shutterstock]

This is the last release of funding through this now discontinued system.

As per an accepted recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety's Final Report, the Federal Government will be transitioning to a new system to replace the current way residential aged care is funded.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, says the funding shows the Government's commitment to developing systems that support greater respect, care and dignity for older Australians no matter where they live.

"Investing in aged care infrastructure means we can improve the quality and safety of residential aged care from the ground up," says Minister Colbeck.

"Safe, secure and comfortable residential care homes, designed around the needs of residents, provide the foundation for our five-pillar, five-year aged care reform plan."

Within this ACAR announcement is also an allocation of 4,098 residential care places and 1,028 Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) places, worth a combined $380 million a year.

There was a focus on priority locations with more than half of the new places allocated to areas in need, like regional and remote Australia.

Minister Colbeck believes these new spots will be available either immediately or within the next 18 months.

The discontinuation of the ACAR also begins the process of moving away from places being allocated to aged care providers.

In the Federal Government's Aged Care Reform Plan, by July 2024, older people will have aged care places allocated directly to them, which allows the opportunity for consumers to have more choice and control over an approved provider and the care they receive.

Under these future changes, new and current providers no longer need to apply for or be allocated places.  The Government believes this will allow residential aged care providers more freedom to adjust and expand on their current service offers so they can meet the consumer demand.

During the transition period, providers holding places will still be able to bring their places into effect and start delivering care," says Minister Colbeck.

Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) is also up for a change, by July 2023, STRC, the Residential Respite program, Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), and Home Care Package (HCP) program, will be replaced by the Support at Home program.

How the STRC, Residential Respite program, CHSP, and HCP will be changed in this new system is still to be determined by the Government.

Minister Colbeck says he was happy to see so many providers making the effort to apply to this last ACAR.

"I’m delighted with the response by providers that demonstrated their capacity to fast-track the delivery of quality care to senior Australians," says Minister Colbeck.

"As a result, twice as many residential care places have been allocated than were made available for allocation".

The average cost of each infrastructure project is around $2.1 million and the funding will assist providers with building or upgrading their facilities.


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