The election results are in and the Coaltion is once again in power and ‘Nightwatchman Scomo’ has become Prime Minister in his own right. Now that we know who will be in power for the next three years, it’s time to take a closer look at what that means for aged care in Australia. It is worth noting that the contents of this post are based on promises made during the election: we are yet to see any concrete commitment from the newly reformed Coalition government.
In the lead up to the election, the Morrison government pledged a combined $44 million towards aged care projects on top of already announced funding increases. These projects will come in the form of a workforce research centre and an initiative to fight loneliness within aged care facilities. The workforce research centre aims to determine the best way to up-skill staff and how best staff and facilities can care for the elderly. This is good news as it begins to tackle the workforce issues facing the industry and is further aided by the Coalition’s promise to create 475,000 more jobs in the sector by 2025.
None of the proposed changes, however, address the more pressing issue of care worker to nurse staff ratios, with the Coalition delaying policy-making in this area until after the Royal Commission makes its findings in April 2020.
There are also a number of key areas that have been left unaddressed, including the lack of dental subsidies for seniors, and review rental assistance and retirement incomes. Furthermore, LASA has expressed concern over with lack of policy around wait times, home care or permanent political reform.
The proposed measures, while a good start, will not have an immediate impact on care quality, the most pressing issue under the topic of aged care reform.