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New approval round prioritises rural, regional and remote aged care places

A “record-breaking” new Aged Care Approval Round (ACAR) with a focus on aged care in regional, rural and remote areas has been announced by the Federal Government.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt at the RSL Remembrance Village in Wagga Wagga (Source: Ken Wyatt)
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt at the RSL Remembrance Village in Wagga Wagga (Source: Ken Wyatt)

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced the 2018 ACAR at the RSL Remembrance Village in Wagga Wagga, with both Minister McCormack and Minister Wyatt highlighting once again that the Turnbull Government would provide an additional 13,500 residential aged care places, and 775 short term restorative care places across the nation.

Minister Wyatt says they have made the announcement of the upcoming round now, prior to the open date of 2 July, to provide prospective applicants with more time to prepare detailed proposals.

“This is the largest number of residential places to have been made available in a single ACAR and is an important part of our government’s $5 billion Budget boost for aged care,” he says.

“While all applications are welcome and will be independently assessed on their merits, special consideration will be given to non-metropolitan areas through the application process.”

Minister McCormack says the new ACAR would build on the Turnbull Government’s “strong record of support” for regional, rural and remote Australians.

“We are passionate about ensuring all Australians have access to quality aged care services regardless of where they live, but we know that regional, rural and remote communities often face challenges, compared with our cities,” he explains.

“In addition, $60 million for capital grants for aged care developments will also be made available as part of the 2018-19 ACAR.

“As the Minister for Infrastructure, I am pleased regional, rural and remote areas will be prioritised through these grants which encourage greater investment, more support and more employment in the areas of highest need.”

Aged care peak body, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has supported the Government's focus on rural, regional and remote communities in the new ACAR, with Acting Chief Executive Officer Darren Mathewson saying the prioritisation will improve service sustainability in these regions.

“We want to ensure older Australians living regionally and remotely can access the same vital care services as the broader population," he says.

"Equally important is that aged service providers can continue their critical role of generating the jobs and infrastructure investment so needed in regional areas across Australia.

“ACSA, in representing many rural and remote providers, is acutely aware of the financial pressures faced by the providers in these areas. 

"The Government’s announcement today is acknowledgment of those
sustainability challenges but we urge consideration also be given to older Australians experiencing, or at risk of homelessness, and how they can be helped to access appropriate aged services.”

The new ACAR application period will open for six weeks from 2 July to 10 August.

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