People living in rural and remote areas will support the campaign launched in Canberra today for the Government to make a start in the May Budget on major reform of the aged care system.
Under the banner Australians deserve to age well – preparing for our future now, the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) is promoting a blueprint for aged care reform, seeking bipartisan support for moves to an aged care sector which is simpler, fairer, more affordable and equitable for all Australians.
The detailed plan delivered to the Government today recognises the fiscal constraints in the current environment but calls for commitment to an improved system and to a timetable for its implementation.
Older Australians are entitled to be treated with equity and fairness regardless of their geographic location. People in rural and remote areas currently have less choice and fewer options as they age, and therefore have much to gain from an improved aged care system. They will support the National Aged Care Alliance in its bid to have reform begin with this year's Budget.
The directions for reform have been spelled out in the Productivity Commission report. It proposes a major paradigm shift in aged care, from a model built around providers and the rationing of available services, to a system designed around the needs of individuals, recognising their entitlements and financial capacity, and able to support wellbeing and independence.
The detailed Blueprint includes increases in the accommodation payment for supported residents to reflect the real costs in each region. Better recognition of the true costs of providing aged care is critical to maintaining such services in rural areas. High travel and transport costs, staffing challenges and smaller services with fluctuating numbers all contribute to higher costs, for care both at home and in residential centres. The lower asset base of many people in rural areas (as evidenced by the higher proportion of concession card holders) places further constraints on the services that can be provided under present arrangements.
People in rural and remote areas are encouraged to become familiar with the Blueprint and to support its implementation. It is available at www.naca.asn.au
Gordon Gregory - Executive Director: 02 6285 4660