Aged Care Approval Round 2015 to open in August
The Abbott Government has recently announced that applications for the 2015 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) for both home care and residential aged care places will open in August.
The Government recognises that many older Australians wish to remain in their home for as long as possible, which is why the provision of home care packages is so important.
Changes were announced in the 2015-16 Budget to ensure that the aged care system in Australia continues to meet the needs of an ageing population.
The Government is progressively moving aged care from a welfare-style system to one that empowers older Australians to choose their own care services through a market-based system. This will encourage service providers to offer competitive, high-quality and innovative services.
This round continues to expand the Home Care Packages Programme, which provides home care services on a Consumer Directed Care basis to help older Australians remain independent.
From February 2017, older Australians receiving Home Care Packages each year will be able to choose who provides their care, because the Government has changed the funding arrangements to attach the package to the individual, rather than the provider.
As a result, this is the last ACAR in which providers will have to apply for Home Care Package places.
Residential places will also be made available in the 2015 ACAR, reflecting the importance of care in a residential setting for older Australians who are no longer able to live at home.
And to encourage greater investment in areas of high need, capital grants to assist providers to build or upgrade residential aged care facilities will be offered in the 2015 ACAR under the Rural, Regional and Other Special Needs Building Fund. The ACAR is the major funding round in the aged care industry and provides new Australian Government funded aged care places to service providers through a competitive assessment process. The invitation to apply for places and capital funding will be announced in newspapers and on the Department of Social Services website (www.dss.gov.au) in August.