MEDIA RELEASE: COTA welcomes Greens recognition that fixing aged care requires a quantum shift in policy and resources

Peak older persons advocate, COTA Australia, today welcomed the Greens’ statement on aged care released today which calls for a human rights approach to aged care policy and major increases in funding for home care and staffing.

COTA Australia Chief Executive, Ian Yates said: “Ageing with dignity is a basic human right and quality aged care is central to ensuring that all Australians are provided with quality support and care in later life and are always accorded dignity and respect”.

“The new Aged Care Standards and the soon to be released Charter of Aged Care Rights which will both come into force on 1 July, are both important steps in this direction,” Mr Yates said.

“The Greens policy proposes $5.91 billion for an additional 50,000 high level Home Care packages over three years, which is in line with the level of need identified by COTA many times and by a key witness at yesterday’s Royal Commission hearing.

“This is a quantum shift that needs to be tackled, because the need is not going to go away.

“The Greens policy also includes a proposed $3 billion in additional funding for staffing to increase the actual hours of care older Australians in residential aged care receive and increase pay for aged care workers by 15% – which is the average gap identified by the report of the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce.

“Having the right numbers of well trained and supported staff is critical to the quality of life of people being supported by aged care services,” Mr Yates said.

“Consumers are constantly tell us that it’s enough good staff that make the difference.

“I am also very pleased to see that the Greens have taken a strong stance on the inappropriate use of physical and chemical restraints in aged care facilities. It’s not acceptable and it needs to stop.”

Mr Yates said the Greens policy needs more detailed discussion but recognises the huge task we face to get aged care right in Australia, as the sector comes under more scrutiny and faces increasing pressure from the ageing population.

“Our aged care system is at a crossroads. It is under major pressure on a number of fronts, but with sensible debate, proper scrutiny and respectful national discussion we have an opportunity to make sure we get it right now, and for future generations.”

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.