On 21 May 2010, the Productivity Commission released the Issues
Paper for its public inquiry into the future of Australia's
aged care system. The inquiry is resultant to the Rudd
Government's commitment to take responsibility for aged care
policy and funding and comes off the back of several reports,
including the 2010 intergenerational report on future challenges
consequential to Australia's ageing population.
The inquiry opens up the opportunity for accommodation bonds to
be paid in high level care. Approved providers should take this
opportunity to provide feedback to the government on this issue, as
payment of bonds is critical to meeting future demand in the
By 2050, the number of Australians aged 85 and over will more
than quadruple, triggering a significant increase in both demand
for aged care services and spending on aged care. The demand for
services is also expected to become more diverse due to various
factors including changing patterns of disease among the aged and
improvements to care technologies.
The purpose of the Commission's inquiry is to develop a
detailed proposal for remodelling Australia's aged care system
to cope with these statistics.
The Issues Paper identifies the following key areas for
evaluation by the Commission.
Review of funding arrangements
The Commission will develop funding options that ensure access
to services at an appropriate standard of care and that are
sufficiently diverse and fiscally sustainable. Particular attention
is to be given to specific needs groups, including people living in
remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and
Review of the regulatory regime
The Commission will develop reform options in respect of any
shortcomings in the current regulatory regime, including the
restrictions on the use of accommodation bonds as a source of
funding, excessive compliance costs associated with safety
regulations and financial reporting requirements, and duplication
of regulations across governments.
Roles and responsibilities of different levels of
The Commission will consider the spread of service delivery
responsibilities across the Commonwealth, state and territory
governments to identify any consequential gaps in service and
develop strategies to improve coordination between different levels
of government, with a view to achieving a more integrated
Future workforce requirements
The Commission will consider future workforce challenges
consequential to the increasing demand for diverse aged care
services and develop reform options to ensure the sector has access
to a sufficient and appropriately trained workforce to care for the
elderly. Consideration will be given to models of care,
remuneration, education, training and workforce regulation
Reform options and transitional arrangements
The Commission will identify paths for transitioning from the
current funding and regulatory arrangements to a new system, so as
to ensure continuity of care and allow the sector adequate time to
adjust to any reforms.
The Commission strongly encourages approved providers and other
stakeholders to contribute to the inquiry and have their say on the
future of Australia's aged care system
The Issues Paper can be viewed
here. Initial submissions to the Commission are due on 30 July
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