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Why the 2024 – ‘25 Federal Budget has concerned advocates of older people

How will older Australians benefit from funding allocations announced in this year’s Federal Budget?

<p>The 2025 Federal Budget speech was broadcast live from Parliament House in Canberra. [Source: Shutterstock]</p>

The 2025 Federal Budget speech was broadcast live from Parliament House in Canberra. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points

  • Organisations including Anglicare, the Older Persons Advocacy Network and COTA Australia responded to the recent Federal Budget release
  • Allocated funding to support the increase in aged care wages and energy rebates were praised by organisations that support older Australians
  • Craig Gear from the Older Persons Advocacy Network said that ‘[…] more needs to be done to deliver an integrated and streamlined aged care system that supports older people at home’

With the 2024 – ‘25 Federal Budget now released, members of organisations supporting older Australians are speaking out about the positive attributes and where extra funding should have been allocated.

Patricia Sparrow, the chief executive officer of COTA Australia, an organisation supporting older Australians praised the government, regarding the recently released Federal Budget. She believed that some measures of the allocated funding would help improve the lives of older Australians. 

“The $300 dollar energy rebate for every household will help the hip pockets of older people who are struggling to pay their electricity and gas bills. Our recent research shows that one in four older people have overdue energy bills, so this is an important relief measure we hope becomes a permanent feature.

“In addition, many older people struggle to afford the medicines they need so the five-year freeze on what pensioners and concession cardholders will pay for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medications will also provide significant relief,” said Ms Sparrow.

The $300 dollar energy rebate comes from a budget allocation of $3.5 billion dollars to help everyday Australians. Additionally, the government has allocated $3.4 billion dollars for ‘new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme’ which is set to reduce costs for medications of many Australians.

Helping older Australians manage the cost of living is another one of the key budget initiatives, but Ms Sparrow stated that there is still progress to be made. 

“The 10 percent increase in the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment is welcomed and will help many older renters. This year’s and last year’s increases are a step towards the 60 percent increase that’s needed. We’re looking forward to the full amount being delivered next year. However, it is equally important that the payment is reviewed and redesigned to ensure it is providing the level of support required in the longer term”, said Ms Sparrow.

Additional funding is also set to make aged care a better option with training made available to aged care workers among other aspects, according to Ms Sparrow. 

“Older Australians living in residential aged care will benefit from funding through state and territory governments to provide hospital outreach, deliver virtual care, upskill the residential care workforce and support the Transition Care Program,” said Ms Sparrow.

Funding for aged care was also discussed by Craig Gear, chief executive officer of the Older Persons Advocacy Network, but he believed that allocated funding in this year’s budget is insufficient for the needs of Australia’s ageing population.

“It is incumbent on the government to create a sustainable and equitable aged care system that supports our growing ageing population.

“This budget does that to an extent, but it does not go far enough in our view,” he said.

However, Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers made it clear that allocating funding to support the increase in pay for aged care workers is an important step in the process.

“[…] this government has put its money where its mouth is by fully funding an increase to aged care pay. This move recognises the crucial work that aged care workers do in looking after older Australians and values it,” she said.

In total, the government has allocated over two billion dollars to strengthen the Australian aged care system, according to the newly released Federal Budget

While Ms Sparrow acknowledged that some funding was made available for additional Home Care Packages, she expressed her disappointment regarding the support to be provided for older Australians who still live independently at home.

“This is not enough funding to help those who can wait over a year for support they’re assessed as needing. Older Australians should not be left stranded in hospital, forced into residential aged care or die waiting for support that never comes.

“COTA Australia believes the most important measure of a successful home care program would be to ensure that any older person needing support is receiving it within 30 days of being assessed. We are a long way from achieving this, with the budget papers setting a new target for low-level assessments of 40 days — just for the assessment to be completed,” said Ms Sparrow.

Chief Executive Officer of the Older Persons Advocacy Network Craig Gear also thought that more funding should have been allocated to the Home Care Packages.

“[…] More needs to be done to deliver an integrated and streamlined aged care system that supports older people at home — delivering care based on their needs and delivered at the time they need it,” said Mr Gear.

Overall, Ms Sparrow acknowledged that this Federal Budget is set to improve the lives of many Australians.

“This budget won’t take away the financial pain Australians, including older Australians, are feeling, but it does go some way to addressing them,” said Ms Sparrow.

 

What else would you like to have seen in this year’s Federal Budget?

Let the team at Talking Aged Care know on social media. 

For more information and news in the aged care industry, subscribe to our free newsletter. 

 

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