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What older Australians want out of the new Aged Care Act

What would you like to see from the new Aged Care Act in December?

<p>The new Aged Care Act exposure draft is slated for release in December of 2023, but advocates hope to see it rolled out on January 1, 2024. [Source: Shutterstock]</p>

The new Aged Care Act exposure draft is slated for release in December of 2023, but advocates hope to see it rolled out on January 1, 2024. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • The submission makes 59 recommendations regarding the rights and care of older people throughout the nation
  • The government is expected to release an exposure draft of the new Aged Care Act in December

 

In response to the Aged Care Act Foundations consultation, included in A New Aged Care Act: the foundations, Consultation Paper No.1, 13 organisations that work with older people and carers throughout the nation have cosigned a submission to the Australian Government.

The recommendations sought to address a wide range of concerns that were raised by older people, including the differences between state and territory laws and sanctions, the development of an internal model for whistleblowers within aged care facilities and the eligibility criteria for access to aged care.

Council on the Ageing Australia Chief Executive Officer Patricia Sparrow said that it was crucial to put the voices of older Australians at the heart of the discussion about the future of aged care in Australia.

“What we’ve found is that while, of course, older people have a diverse range of views, the vast majority are united on many things including on the need to embed human rights in the new Aged Care Act being developed by government, on putting safeguards in place to ensure every Australian can get access to the quality aged care they deserve and on improving our aged care system for generations to come,” the COTA Australia CEO said.

“For too long, older Australians — whether due to systemic ageism or other factors — have not been given ownership of their lives when the time comes for them to access aged care. It’s time that changed.”

The submission stated that the new Act must be subject to review every three years or sooner if legislative changes are made that impact the Act. Advocacy organisations that co-signed the joint submission said the new Act is a major shift away from how the sector currently operates and any issues or unintended consequences need to be resolved quickly.

Older Persons Advocacy Network CEO Craig Gear OAM said the vast majority of people who had attended consultations supported a new rights-based Aged Care Act.

“A significant number of older people also told us that the Act won’t be worth the paper it is written on if it isn’t supported by the necessary regulatory levers and enforcement pathways,” Mr Gear said.

The submission recommended that information, education and training on rights and the implementation of the new Aged Care Act must commence from January 1, 2024, for older people and participants, families, representatives, aged care workers and providers.

The new Aged Care Act exposure draft is set to be released in December, with the 13 organisations recommending that the Government provide an eight-week consultation period for review. 

National Seniors Australia Chief Operating Officer Chris Grice said that a human-rights approach to the future of Australia’s aged care would empower people to expect and claim quality care.

“At the top of a long list of lessons from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is that reform of the aged care system must embed the human rights of older people at its foundation,” Mr Grice said.

Signatory organisations include:

  • Association of Independent Retirees
  • Carers Australia
  • COTA Australia
  • Dementia Australia
  • Elder Abuse Action Australia
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities
  • Councils of Australia Legacy
  • LGBTIQ + Health Australia
  • National Seniors Australia
  • OPAN
  • National Association of People With HIV Australia
  • Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care Alliance
  • The Returned and Services League of Australia

 

What would you like to see included in the exposure draft of the new Aged Care Act? Let the team at Talking Aged Care know your thoughts and subscribe to the newsletter for future updates!

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