The 2018/19 Federal Budget contains a large number of important measures to improve the lives of older Australians, which jointly constitute a significant, positive step towards better preparing Australia for our ageing population of the future.
Most of the measures related to older Australians are found in a major Budget package called “More Choices for a Longer Life” and are detailed in the policy alert, but some of the stand-out measures for older Australians include:
- Major investments in aged care reform, including additional high level Home Care Packages and implementation of the Carnell/Paterson Quality Review
- The creation of skills, health and financial checks at 45 and 65, to be backed up by a range of subsidies and support services
- Expansion of the Pension Loan Scheme to allow all older Australians greater flexibility to use home equity to boost retirement incomes or meet later life costs
- In response to COTA representation, including the member petition, a mental health services program targeted at aged care residents, and a pilot program in the community.
There are, however, also some important gaps in the Budget, which we address in the discussion of portfolio measures. Key gaps include:
- No increase again in Newstart Allowance for unemployed older Australians
- No measures to assist older Australians in housing stress and at risk of or experiencing homelessness
- No action on addressing the oral and dental health needs of older Australians
Copies of COTA Australia Media Releases on the budget can be found here:
- MEDIA RELEASE: Federal Budget 2018 – welcome commitment to better planning for an ageing population and aged care
- MEDIA RELEASE: Federal Budget recognises role of older Australians
- MEDIA RELEASE: Extra home care packages and other welcome aged care measures will provide relief for older Australians