Aged Care Reform Passes Lower House
Updated: Aug 20, 2022
On the 27th of July 2022, the Labor government, lead by Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, introduced two new pieces of aged care-related legislation to the lower house, the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022 and the Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022. The bills are expected to be rapidly passed through the senate.
The Royal Commission Response Bill features 14 recommendations from the royal commission regarding a code of conduct for facility staff, an independent pricing authority, greater oversight over health providers, new residential funding, a star ratings system and increased stronger governance. The former coalition government only implemented 9 of the 148 recommendations from the Royal Commission. The Coalition also sought to introduce a similar bill during their most recent time in government, but this was not passed.
The Implementing Care Reform Bill will mandate from July 2023 that registered nurses are to be on-site at aged care facilities on a 24/7 basis. The Bill also requires aged care facilities to publish their spending figures on administration, food, nursing and profits and will also allow the government to cap administration fees on home care packages.
The bills are the first step in the Labor government keeping to a series of election promises regarding health and aged care. Ms. Wells stated the government was also moving towards mandating for all aged care residents to receive 200 minutes of care a day by October 2023 and 215 minutes a day by October 2024.
She also confirmed that she and the health minister, Mark Butler, would be submitting a case for an increase in aged care wages to the Fair Work Commission by the 8th of August 2022.
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