Oct 26, 2023

Aged Care Taskforce interim report will make no conclusions

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HammondCare’s Mike Baird talking with fellow Aged Care Taskforce members and MC Tony Jones. [Source: HelloCare]

Members of the Aged Care Taskforce have confirmed their interim report, due for publication this month, will not outline any concrete plans for the financial sustainability of the aged care sector. 

On Wednesday, at the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) National Conference in Adelaide, a panel of Taskforce members revealed their interim report would not conclude a definite path forward for the funding of aged care and the assurance of quality care.

The Taskforce is set to deliver its final report in December 2023 with the interim report due this month and was established by Aged Care Minister Anika Wells to review funding arrangements for aged care and develop options for a system that is fair and equitable for everyone in Australia.

Conference MC and former host of ABC TV’s Q+A program, Tony Jones, was joined by ACCPA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Symondson, StewartBrown Senior Partner Grant Corderoy, ACH Group’s Non-Executive Director and Chairman Mary Patetsos, former Deputy Treasury Secretary Nigel Ray, and HammondCare CEO and former NSW Premier Mike Baird to discuss the future financial sustainability of the aged care sector and answer questions from the audience. 

The panel discussed their job of considering the nuance and delicate situations older Australians, their families, providers and the Government face when deciding on a new financial model for aged care which will likely influence the new Aged Care Act set for reform next year. 

Two models were predominantly highlighted – a levy that would see taxes raised to account for the huge costs of the aged care industry or a co-payment model where lifetime means tests would be altered to allow wealthier older people to pay more for their care. 

During the discussion, panellists alluded that the interim report would not signal any definite solutions to this predicament. 

“[The Taskforce is] a very robust group and all of us are open to listening to each other and also speaking our minds which has been fundamental to the process and it’s one of the reasons why the interim report I think correctly, at this point, doesn’t land anywhere,” she said.

Mr Baird – who was on Q+A with Mr Jones during his time as Premier – was asked by the MC if a tax on all Australians to fund aged care was appropriate as it may have “a tinge of socialism to it”. 

Mr Baird said that during his Premier tenure during the tax debate, he advocated for a hypothecated increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) towards health but confirmed he no longer has that stance. 

“The demands on Government funding far outstripped what they’re going to produce.

There’s this massive demand and you haven’t got the funding, so how do you deal with that?” he said.

“Whether it be through the taxation system, whether it be through contribution, they’re the things that you have to consider.”

The conversation about aged care cost and questions about its sustainability have been rife in the build-up to the interim report as most providers continue to operate under severe financial pressure, with 70% of residential aged care homes running at a loss in the third quarter of 2022. 

Similarly, the idea of wealthier older Australians contributing more to their care has ruffled some feathers amongst providers and consumers, but Mr Symondson said co-contribution is not a new thing in aged care and confirmed the Taskforce is consulting with both consumers and stakeholders to produce a well-rounded recommendation.

“Each option had to be incredibly well thought through – they’re multifaceted, they have different solutions to them within the solutions, so we’ve had to ask people who are not part of the Taskforce questions none of us or the Government have the answer to. 

“We have to do that by the final report in December and I know we will because we won’t leave the room until we’ve done so. All of our credibility, individually, is resting on that.” 

What are you hoping to find in the Taskforce’s final report? Let us know

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  1. If you are a wealthy person then maybe yes it may be fair to say they contribute to their care. But most older Australians had none or very little in superannuation by the time Paul Keating brought it in and alot do not own their own home. The idea that more immigration means more workers paying tax is not going to work to pay for childcare or Aged Care. There just aren’t enough jobs to go around. This will only end up bad with more homelessness and more low skilled jobs being offered by greedy employers who are subsidized by the tax payer yet again. No productivity will come with low skilled immigrants who cannot hardly speak English let alone read or do a progress note. They are taught by others to copy and paste other people’s notes. Since the minutes have come into aged care and as a result we have people working longer hrs and have more staff it seems we have less productivity happening. More falls more staff sitting around talking and less cares being attended to by all. Cooks are now being trained as AINs and AINs have to dish out meals and pack everything up. So much for spending more time with the residents. Nobody can pronounce the names of all the new staff mostly from Nepal and they are so young and inexperienced. Residents complained recently that they talk in their own language when working together doing cares and laughing making residents feel uncomfortable. Yep. This is who will be looking after your loved ones. Children straight of airplane!

  2. The home care program model is not broken, it is working quite well as it currently is. The problem would appear to be in the residential program and so when the royal commission gave it’s recommendations home care got dragged down the same avenue.

    What the Govt doesn’t realize is that home care and residential care are two different planets and they are far apart. If the Govt starts to change the current home care model I can see an absolute disaster happening.
    I have been informed that there were inroads being made to adopt the NDIS program which is a total disaster, why would you change something that is working and putting it into something that is not working.

    I am the CEO / Director of Comm Care and we only do home care

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