Older Australians advocates urge Senate to pass Aged Care Reform Bill

Aged care consumer and carer organisations, led by Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, are urging the Senate to pass the Aged Care Reform Bill in the next two days and get much-needed reforms in place, including an independent pricing authority, a Code of Conduct for aged care workers and providers, and new powers for the Quality and Safety Commission.

COTA Australia, Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), National Seniors Australia, Carers Australia, Dementia Australia and the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia are calling on all Senators to support the Bill’s quick passage – which the government should bring on as a high priority – warning that older Australians can’t afford for reforms to be further delayed until well beyond the Federal Election.

“We only have three sitting days left  for the Senate to pass this legislation, or it cannot be passed until well after the election,” says Ian Yates AM, Chief Executive of COTA Australia, “And that would mean very substantial delays in implementing key Royal Commission recommendations that will support and protect people in aged care”

“Consumer and carer peak bodies fully understand that some Senators want to see even more comprehensive reforms in this Bill, but the time for that debate is next year when the new Aged Care Act will be introduced.

Craig Gear, CEO of OPAN said: “This Bill is about allowing the government’s current reform package to advance. These reforms were recommended by the Royal Commission, and the Bill has already been reviewed and recommended by the Senate Community Affairs Committee.”

“It is simply essential that the Bill’s measures are enacted as fast as possible. This is about the right of older people to receive quality care, adequate funding, strong protection and transparency right now.”

The Aged Care Reform Bill No 2 includes:

  • The new residential aged care funding tool
  • The creation of an Independent Pricing Authority for aged care
  • The registration of aged care workers and a Code of Conduct for workers and providers
  • Giving the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission power to ban people who do the wrong thing
  • Publication of provider financial statements for better transparency
  • Strengthening controls over the use of restrictive practices in aged care
  • Stronger governance requirements on aged care providers