Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

$244m to aid younger people in aged care

The number of younger people with a disability living in residential aged care will be reduced under a $244 million plan agreed at today’s Council of Australian Governments’ meeting.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Mal Brough welcomed Prime Minister John Howard’s announcement, which will contribute up to $122 million over five years to the program, focussed mainly on people aged 50 years or under.

“The Howard Government shares the concerns of people with disability, their families and carers, and recognises residential aged care is often not the best option for younger people with disability,” Mr Brough said.

“Some activities and services available to residents of an aged care facility do not meet the demands of younger people.

“Under this program, younger people with disability currently living in residential aged care will be offered a care needs assessment, and where appropriate, alternative accommodation and care options can be made available.”

About 1000 people aged under 50 with a disability are living in residential aged care. Mr Brough said the Howard, state and territory governments have agreed to jointly fund and develop the program.

“Those who wish to stay in their current accommodation will benefit from a range of age-appropriate services being developed to make this possible,” he said.

“The leadership shown by the Howard Government in working with the states and co-funding this initiative is a major step towards rectifying a difficult issue that the states have been unable to address satisfactorily.”