Finance Minister Katy Gallagher has warned the Federal Government needs to make room for the aged care sector in its first October Budget if they are to properly fund all the new industry measures.
Several initiatives have been announced ahead of the Federal Budget that will require reasonable funding, such as a new residential aged care funding system, a new Star Ratings system for aged care providers, and much more.
As well as a number of planned future changes to the sector, like mandated 24/7 nursing in residential aged care facilities.
The Federal Labor Government has also promised it would fund a proposed pay rise for aged care workers, although that decision is still several months away.
Senator Gallagher said the Government will have to make some big decisions to follow through on the promise of additional funds for the aged care sector.
“Some of those difficult decisions are how we reprioritise, how we make savings, and how we make room for all of the good ideas that people are coming forward with,” Senator Gallagher told ABC News.
“The budget is in such a difficult position and all of the kind of challenges – aged care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), servicing the debt that we have inherited – these are all programs that are growing very fast and we have to make room to manage them.
Senator Gallagher also said the Federal Government has the additional challenge of coordinating funding for promised outcomes from last week’s Jobs and Skills Summit, including an increase to the skilled migration cap.
Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Sadler says a sustainable funding model in the October Budget is required to ensure Federal Government promises are made.
“The government’s promise of a 10% increase in funding – with the introduction of the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) residential aged care funding model – glosses over the fact that all of that additional funding will go towards hiring extra staff in order to meet the requirement for 200 minutes of care per resident per day by October 2023,” Mr Sadler said
“There is also the need to introduce Registered Nurses 24/7 into all aged care homes and the need to work through the impact of changes to the home and community care program.
“This brings us back to the issue of funding and the need for a sustainable funding model for aged care into the future.
A recent survey by Essential Research found that 70% of Australians want to see funding increased for the aged care sector.
At the time of the survey, Tim Hicks, General Manager Policy and Advocacy for the ACCPA said that aged care funding was completely inadequate and needs to be increased to meet modern expectations of support and care.
Mr Hicks added that aged care workers need to be reflected in the October Budget.
“The Government should seize the opportunity in the upcoming Federal Budget to address the workforce shortage crisis and provide financial support for the long-term sustainability of quality aged care facilities and at-home care programs,” he told HelloCare in August.
The sector is hoping the budget will provide more support for the aged care sector than the previous Liberal Government’s March budget.