12 May 2019

Only Labor will be in a position to improve aged care and adequately respond to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

By contrast, the Liberals have still not answered what other programs and services they will cut to deliver their promise of at least $77 billion in tax cuts for very high income earners, and that’s before they make further cuts that would be needed to pay for any new aged care spending commitments.
We know the Liberals called the Royal Commission because they failed to drive reform across the aged care sector over the past six years:

  • There are 128,000 older Australians waiting for their approved level of home care package.
  • The Liberals cut almost $2 billion from residential aged care.
  • The Liberals sat on dozens of reports, reviews and inquiries about how to improve aged care but instead called a Royal Commission.

A Shorten Labor Government will work with the sector, including all unions, to improve aged care and respond to the Royal Commission’s recommendations once they are handed down.
To further improve the quality of care and support a future aged care workforce, an elected Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Immediately investigate interventions to ensure older Australians most at need are prioritised for home care.
  • Provide opportunities through TAFE so that up to 20,000 aged care workers can obtain or improve their qualifications.
  • Immediately speed up implementation of the Matter of Care workforce strategy to address inadequate staffing in aged care.
  • Ensure that for residential aged care facilities there is a registered nurse present, on site, 24 hours a day.
  • Publish the skill mix of the workforce employed at every residential aged care facility to ensure the appropriate skills mix of properly trained staff is present at all times.
  • Look at how best to improve access to home care packages and increasing staffing levels and skills.
  • Further address the number of GPs working in aged care to provide proper incentives for GPs to do home visits and provide services in residential aged care.

Consistent with Labor’s commitment to support Australians with dementia and their families and carers, a Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Make improving the care of Australians with dementia a national priority.
  • Remove the complexity of multiple interactions between the Department of Health and Ageing, Centrelink, aged care providers, and the broader health care system for Australians with dementia and their families.
  • Improve the training of aged care staff to improve the workforce’s understanding of dementia, including scholarships for nurses and carers to undertake specialist dementia care training.

Labor also recognises the unique requirements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and LGBTIQ communities, and will prioritise establishing programs that focus on improved support for these groups.