Aged care advocates call on politicians to consult older Australians to fix ‘national disgrace’

Apr 17, 2022
Aged care advocates want older Australians to be consulted on a new reform to the industry. Source: Getty

Aged care advocates have called on political leaders, ahead of the upcoming election, to supply an all-new rights-based Aged Care Act by July 1, 2023.

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is reiterating its efforts to bring aged care to the forefront of the Government and the next Australian Parliament, to ensure the rights and wellbeing of older Australians are adequately cared for.

OPAN CEO Craig Gear said the current aged care system is severely lacking.

“The treatment we’ve seen of older Australians, particularly in residential aged care homes, is a national disgrace,” Gear said.

“The reform journey has commenced, but action must ramp up to give older Australians the dignity and respect they deserve in their later years.”

Gear said the promises both political parties will be making aren’t enough and that “direct engagement with older Australians” is needed to provide the right care that meets their needs.

“The current Aged Care Act is focused on the operation and funding of aged care services and is largely divorced from the human experience of older people,” he said.

“We need a rights-based aged care act that has mechanisms to monitor, respond and ensure the rights of older people are upheld, with consequences for aged care providers that breach these conditions.”

Gear said the recent Royal Commission into aged care is a good start but wants to see the recommendations put into play.

“We are seeking a commitment from all political parties to develop a clear, time-bound plan to implement all the recommendations proposed by the Royal Commission,” Gear said.

The current Morrison government has come under fire for seeming to leave aged care out of the Federal Budget on March 29, focusing strongly on the cost of living.

Morrison committed $49.5 million in training for aged care workers but little else for an industry that’s suffering and is critical to looking after senior Australians.

In his budget reply on March 31, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese pledged $2.5 billion to the sector with a promise to install at least one registered nurse at all times in aged care facilities.

Election campaigns for both Morrison and Albanese are well underway since the election date was called for May 21.

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