Good intent is welcome but still no concrete aged care commitment from either party

Release date: 12 May 2019

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) has welcomed Labor’s position statement on aged care as a positive statement of intent to tackle the big issues of the next few decades but is disappointed that the major political parties are delaying any substantive action and using the Royal Commission as an excuse.


“Labor’s announcement is a positive sign of intent to tackle some of the big challenges and opportunities facing our ageing nation.  If Labor forms government ACSA will do everything possible to work collaboratively to address these issues but we’re disappointed immediate action has been put on the back burner using the Royal Commission as an excuse,” ACSA CEO Patricia Sparrow said.

“The incoming government, whomever it will may be, needs to relieve the significant pressures on services for older Australians right now and commit to the funding Bill Shorten admitted was needed on ABC’s Q&A on Monday night.

“Everything in Labor’s statement of intent highlights the need for Bill Shorten’s stated support for “better training, more money, more staff” but words are not enough and older Australians and aged care is waiting to see action.

“There will also be significant challenges when it comes to the detail and implementation of what is clearly a good intentioned policy direction. That is why we’ve welcomed the Royal Commission as a vehicle to find solutions for the future but there are urgent things that aged care needs right now.

“There are people waiting for care that they deserve and they don’t want to hear excuses about waiting to see what the Royal Commission says.

“We have 128,000 people waiting for support at home and an increasing frail population in residential care who need support with complex health care that just isn’t fully funded.

“Both parties agreed that the crisis facing aged care warranted a Royal Commission but have largely ignored the big issues older Australians face in the election campaign.”

The ACSA ‘Election Statement 2019’ has not been responded to. It asks for a commitment to:

  1. Extend the short-term 9.5% funding injection into residential care, tied to investing in staffing, training and other workforce matters based on local and organisational needs, until the Royal Commission’s broader recommendations can be implemented.

  2. Urgent boost of 40,000 level 3 and 4 Home Care Packages (in 2019-20) that is the main cause of the backlog in waiting lists and is forcing people into hospital or residential care prematurely.

  3. Keep rural and regional Australians in their communities by increasing the rural and remote supplement by $10 per day.

  4. Address the oral health crisis in aged care with MBS provider numbers for dental hygienists or oral health therapists to prevent dental issues progressing into more serious medical issues.

  5. Bring forward the 30% increase to the homeless supplement so that it is fully realised in the 2019/2020 year.


Media contact: Peter Stahel 0408 584 439

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia


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