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Increased government support and funding for CALD and Indigenous communities

A federal government focus on supporting cultural aged care services in Australia is being reflected in the release of a review into aged care services for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, and the announcement of an additional $3 million in grant funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care services in remote locations.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has announced additional government support for CALD and Indigenous communities (Source: Supplied)
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has announced additional government support for CALD and Indigenous communities (Source: Supplied)

Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has been at the heart of the initiatives, having made the announcements on 24 and 28 November, respectively.

During the announcement of the latest round of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP), Minister Wyatt said the funding would benefit people in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia and that this “targeted investment” aims to improve the lives of elders living in what he calls some of the “most remote areas”.

“The expanded funding is dedicated to providing responsive, culturally comfortable care, to help ensure people can stay close to their homes and country,” he says.

“Aged care funded under the NATSIFACP delivers a mix of residential and home-based services [and] a key feature is the service's’ capacity to be adapted to meet the changing care needs of their communities.”

The funding will support three additional North Queensland residential care services from January 2018, with extra support being given to existing services to deliver care to older people with complex needs at Docker River in the Northern Territory and Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia.

The new locations will increase the number of NATSIFACP services, mainly in rural and remote locations, to 35, and means a total of $43.1 million is being provided to expand the NATSIFACP over five years to meet the increased need for aged care services in remote communities.

While the NATSIFACP initiative is all about the coming five years, the review of aged care in CALD communities has focused on the past five years of experiences.

The report findings detail the experiences of a range of aged care stakeholders - providers, peak bodies and individuals - in implementing the strategy over the past five years, and outlines challenges for improvement in the future.

Minister Wyatt says the findings in the report will help guide new policy so that aged care providers can deliver appropriate services and senior Australians, their families and carers can choose the quality care they deserve.

“I want to thank the CALD Aged Care Strategy Working Group for their insight, expertise and commitment,” the Minister says.

“Whatever our background, life experience or culture it’s important that as we age we have appropriate, affordable and accessible aged care that suits our individual circumstances.

“So many of the senior Australians who helped build this nation into one of the most prosperous and successful democracies in the world have culturally diverse backgrounds, and they must have access to an aged care system that understands and respects their needs.”

The Minister has also stated that the CALD Aged Care Strategy Review feeding into the new Aged Care Diversity Framework, which is expected to be released in December, with specific actions on the report being considered further.

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