Media Release by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Providing better aged care for older Australians

The Abbott Government is delivering on its commitment to deliver better services for older Australians and greater certainty for providers.

The Budget is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

The Abbott Government is delivering support to provide older Australians with better choices and improved access to the type of services which will enable them to continue to live active and healthy lives.

The Government will improve the way home care places are allocated through the Aged Care Approvals Round to better meet community demand and give providers more certainty. The changes will ensure home care places can be released more quickly, and provide a more consistent, evenly spread and predictable number of places each year.

This will help to better meet the needs of older Australians, who want to stay in their own homes, and give home care providers more certainty so that they can better plan for the long term.

The Abbott Government is honouring our commitment to invest in Australia’s aged care workforce by putting back into the general pool of aged care funding the $1.5 billion allocated to the workforce compact.

We have consulted with key stakeholders to ensure the funding is distributed in a way that is more flexible and better targeted, with minimal regulatory burden and without jeopardising the viability of aged care facilities.

In addition, payments through the Viability Supplement to eligible regional, rural and remote providers will increase by 20 per cent from 1 July 2014, for all eligible Commonwealth funded residential and home care providers, Multi-Purpose Services and services funded through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.

The Government will also implement the aged care reforms to help deliver a range of services that will provide more choices for people to stay at home longer, as well as providing more aged care homes and support for homes in regional, rural and remote areas.

The Government will remove the aged care Payroll Tax Supplement for residential aged care providers. This will assist the Government to repair the Budget.

The Government is making decisions that repair the Budget, strengthen the economy and prepare Australia for the long term challenges before us.