FECCA today welcomed Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt’s backing for the continuation of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme beyond 2020.
Minister Wyatt confirmed this morning at a meeting of the National Aged Care Alliance in Canberra that he is personally committed the Programme, which helps older people stay independent and in their homes and communities for longer.
At the meeting, Minister Wyatt reinforced the important role of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme in providing entry level services to frail older Australians, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The Programme also provides the same entry level support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as older LGTBI Australians.
The Minister’s commitment does not preclude the Federal Government from pursuing reforms of the sector which aim to simplify access to services and facilitate a more seamless transition for older Australians from the Commonwealth Home Support Programme to the Home Care Packages Program.
FECCA Chairperson Ms Mary Patetsos, who was present at the meeting, applauded Minister Wyatt for his recognition of the importance of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
"Culturally and linguistically diverse communities and specialist home support providers will be delighted with this news,” Ms Patetsos said.
“Essential cultural competencies are embedded in the aged care sector through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, and service delivery to older Australians would be negatively impacted without it.
“The loss of trusted specialist services would also compound the lack of access to services and the disadvantage experienced by culturally and linguistically diverse older Australians."
“FECCA will continue to work closely with the Minister and the Department to ensure high quality and inclusive aged care services for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and their carers.”
FECCA is the peak, national body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. FECCA's role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of its constituency to government, business and the broader community.
The Liberal and Nationals Government will deliver more support for older Australians, with a half a billion dollar ($552.9 million) increase to aged care funding including the release of 10,000 high-level home care packages within weeks.
We understand that older Australians prefer to receive support and services in their own home and live independently for as long as possible.
The 10,000 new high-level home care packages deliver important services at home, such as complex clinical care from a range of providers, nursing and mobility care, nutrition, hydration and meal preparation and transport support.
The packages and will be available in early 2019 and will be spilt across 5,000 level three and 5,000 level four care packages, providing up to $50,000 per person in services each year.
The $287 million home care expansion is on top of the extra 20,000 packages funded in the past year, which combined will result in a record 40 per cent increase in the number of people receiving home care packages.
We will also ease the cost of living for 70,000 older Australians by reducing the daily maximum fees payable by up to $400 per year for level one packages, $200 a year for level two packages and $100 a year for a level three packages.
Older Australians who are not currently charged this maximum fee will still benefit because we will increase the value of packages by providing a top-up payment for additional services by providers that is the same amount as the fee reduction.
We are also investing more in providers that support older Australians living in rural and remote areas and people who have been affected by homelessness.
These providers face unique circumstances and cost pressures and we want to ensure their sustainability.
The Viability Supplement for eligible residential aged care providers is to be increased by 30 per cent, through an investment of $101.9 million.
Currently, more than 550 services, accounting for around 13,500 residential care places, receive the Viability Supplement to offset higher care costs in regional areas.
The Homeless Supplement will also be increased by 30 per cent, through a $9.3 million funding injection. Currently, 42 residential services receive the homeless supplement on behalf of more than 1,700 residents.
We will also invest $98 million to fund increased payments to GPs to attend residential aged care homes to treat patients. This recognises the important role of GPs in supporting the health and care of patients in residential aged care.
These initiatives reflect the rollout of our Government’s unprecedented aged care improvements to help ensure older Australians receive the care they want and deserve, where and when they need it.
We have invested an extra $1 billion a year in aged care services since 2013 and have continued our record investment through the 2018/19 Budget’s $5 billion boost over the next four years.
Because without a strong economy and getting our budget back into balance, we can’t make these important decisions. This is why a strong economy matters; because it guarantees the essential services Australians rely on without higher taxes.
It is this strong economic management that ensures we continue to invest record amounts of funding in aged care and other vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and public hospitals.
Even as the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety goes about its’ important work, our commitment to improving care for older Australians will continue at full pace.