Aged Care Legislation Passes the House of Representatives

Five bills have been passed in the House of Representatives yesterday in a major step forward for the Gillard Labor Government’s $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms.

Minister for Ageing Mark Butler said the changes to the Aged Care Act 1997 are part of a 10-year plan to build a better, fairer, sustainable and nationally consistent aged care system to meet the challenges of the nation’s ageing population.

“The Gillard Government’s aged care reform plan will deliver more choice, easier access and better care for older Australians, their families and carers.” Mr Butler said.

“We are replacing an aged care system designed a quarter of a century ago and which is now ill-equipped to meet the needs of retiring baby boomers and their parents who are living longer and healthier lives.”

Key aspects of the reforms include:

  • Consumer Directed Care packages rolled out nationwide providing people more control over the care they receive.
  • Almost $1 billion in new funding for home care which will see the number of home support packages almost double from 60,000 to 100,000.
  • Tailored care packages to people with dementia receiving home care, and new funding to boost dementia care.
  • Increased funding to residential aged care with 30,000 new places over the next 5 years and $480 million for aged care homes to significantly upgrade their facilities.
  • $1.2 billion to deliver higher wages, better conditions and more rewarding careers for the nation’s 350,000 aged care workers.
  • A single gateway to all aged care services, to make them easier to access and navigate.

Mr Butler said the Government was pleased the legislation had been passed in the lower house and would now seek the support of all sides of politics to pass the legislation in the Senate, following consideration of a Senate Committee Inquiry report.

“I’d like to thank all those consumer representatives, aged care providers and unions who have demonstrated their commitment to these reforms and worked tirelessly to bring the whole community behind them,” Mr Butler said.

“This package reflects what older Australians, their families and carers, and aged care providers have told us they wanted through extensive consultations, along with the valuable input of the Productivity Commission.

“I now look forward to deliberation and passage of this legislation in the Senate.”

Original Media Release