Senate Committee Submission: Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 2) Bill 2021

COTA Australia welcomes the Bill and supports its purpose of enablinge essential reforms to the aged care system recommended by the Royal Commission. We strongly encourage its passage through the Parliament by the end of the year to ensure that these urgent reforms can continue to be implemented in a timely fashion.

The case for each of the various provisions in this Bill has largely been set out in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. We do not repeat the substantive cases in this submission but are happy to talk to each if requested. Rather, in this submission, we address specific issues related to this Bill and the future subordinate legislation.

The Bill predominantly provides the policy framework for the development  of  subordinate legislation which will  set out operational detail and requirements. COTA Australia strongly encourages consumer and sector consultation on the subordinate legislation.

These legislative amendments are to the current Act and will later need to be included in the new Aged Care Act recommended by the Royal Commission and to be in place by mid-2023. The preparation of the new Act needs to involve an extensive co-design process followed by a consultation process on the Exposure Draft of the Bill before it is introduced to Parliament.

Many older Australians are confused about the timing and process for Government consultation on aged care reform. COTA Australia has called for a clearer implementation and engagement approach that includes older Australians and their representatives, and we are pleased to advise that the Department has responded positively to this and established a collaborative process on this with aged care consumer peak bodies.

COTA Australia welcomes recent Government amendments to this Bill regarding the membership of governing bodies and restrictive practices, which followed our initial feedback on the draft Bill.