‘Seismic shifts’ coming to aged care after new task force announced

Jun 08, 2023
The Aged Care Taskforce will examine the current funding structures in aged care and establish a comprehensive system that ensures fairness and equality for all Australians. Source: Getty Images.

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells has taken an important step towards addressing the persistent challenges impacting the ailing aged care sector.

During her address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, June 7, Wells unveiled plans for an aged care task force comprised of experts and professionals to help improve the standards of care and decide how to best fund aged care.

“We must act now. The Baby Boomers are coming,” Wells told those in attendance.

“Within a decade, our nation will have, for the first time in history, more people aged over 65 than under 18.”

In an effort to address the growing number of those who will be relying on aged care in the future and the problems plaguing the system now, Wells announced details about the new task force that she will chair.

“Today I am releasing the Terms of Reference and announcing the membership of the Aged Care Taskforce,” she said.

“I will chair this Taskforce that has yet another ambitious task – reporting by the end of the year and advising the Albanese Government on options.

“The Taskforce members have expertise in economics, finance, public policy, ageing and aged care, First Nations, consumer advocacy and provider advocacy.

“There is a strong focus on the consumer voice and, given this work is intended to support future generations as they move into aged care, the membership also includes a young economist with a strong interest in intergenerational issues and inequality.”

The Aged Care Taskforce will examine the current funding structures in aged care and establish a comprehensive system that ensures fairness and equality for all Australians. The task force will build upon the insights provided by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, focusing specifically on reviewing funding arrangements, which will include:

  • contributions arrangements that will support a sustainable system
  • equity for older people needing aged care now and into the future, and for all Australians contributing to aged care funding through their taxes
  • making innovation the sector default
  • enhancing the elements of the system that Australians value, including putting people using aged care at the centre of the funding arrangements.

“This is about the Government investing in the care that older Australians actually want – and they want to be at home,” Wells added.

“This is about delivering a needs-based arrangement that makes financial sense.

“The Taskforce will help our seismic shifts from provider focused to person focused, and funding focused to care focused.

“This new piece of work is the next chapter after twelve months of triaging an absolute crisis.

“This new piece of work is only possible now the results tell us that what we are doing is working.

“This new piece of work forms part of our capacity to face the future with ambition for aged care.”

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) CEO Craig Gear OAM welcomed Wells’ comments and the Aged Care Reform Roadmap, stating that “older people need to know what changes are coming, when those changes are coming, and how those changes will affect them.”

“This roadmap supplies the necessary coordinates,” Gear said.

“And by identifying a clear timeline, Minister Wells has enabled the sector to better prepare, plan for – and deliver – the ambitious reforms that will roll out over the coming years.”

Gear said that with the introduction of the roadmap “it’s time to roll up our sleeves and fix this broken system”.

‘Older people must play an integral role in this process,” Gear said.

“OPAN looks forward to working with the government, sector stakeholders, other aged care peak bodies, and older people themselves, to ensure this happens.”

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up