This week in politics

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15 Nov 2018

‚ÄčAged Care Quality & Safety Commission Bill listed in the Senate for debate

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018 was listed in the  Senate for debate on 14 November - with the Commission due to commence 1 January 2019. The Government has introduced amendments which address a number of concerns raised by ACSA and our members, such as the need to undertake a review of the legislation, concerns about information that can be publically released, and, recommending adding “or consumer representative” to the definition of “consumer”.  Pleasingly for ACSA and its members, the suggested amendments reflect the concerns we raised. The Government’s amendments include:

  • A tightening of the wording around the consumer engagement functions to include not only consumers but their ‘representatives.’

  • A stronger definition of the scope of information the Commissioner is able to make publically available

  • An independent review of the operation of this Act and the rules to be conducted within six months after the fifth anniversary of the commencement of this Act.

As this article was being written, the Bill had yet to be debated – after being held up in the Senate by debate on the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018. But it looks likely the Bill and amendments will be passed unanimously this week.

More information here: click here.

ACSAs Submission on the Bill is here: click here.

 

Aged Care Royal Commission update

The Royal Commission (RC) has now created a website, located an Adelaide office and is currently recruiting counsel assisting and other staff. ACSA also understands that the RC has also approached the Department of Health for information about the current aged care system; and is understood to be considering the development of policy papers on various issues.

We are now awaiting further information on the approach the RC will take - and that is expected to be in early December – and may include calling for submissions, hearings and calling for witnesses.

The RC has appointed Dr James Popple as Official Secretary (former Chief Information Officer for the Commonwealth). He was the inaugural Freedom of Information Commissioner and a Senior Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal prior to  12 years in the Australian Attorney-General's Department.

ACSA has formed a strong internal team to undertake research and advocacy and is developing a number of positions and submissions. More information soon.

ACSA has also has convened a member exclusive Advisory Panel to provide advice on specific matters that could arise from the RC. All participants have committed to offer their services to support ACSA members, helping to guide you through the RC process and formulate strategic responses as required. In addition panel members have supplied a range of RC resources, in the form of guidance documents, Q&A’s, fact sheets, checklists, presentations & webinars. If you are an ACSA member and have not received details on how to access the ACSA Royal Commission Advisory Panel please contact rc@acsa.asn.au

Should you have any other questions or concerns about the RC please also get in touch using the dedicated RC email: rc@acsa.asn.au

If you have any questions about legislation do not hesitate to contact Heather Witham ACSA National Government Relations Manager on heather.witham@acsa.asn.au