The Federal Government recently announced that they will cease
funding the Aboriginal Legal Services' Prisoner ThroughCare
program, effective as of 30 June 2014. The purpose of the program,
which was implemented at the recommendation of the Royal Commission
into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, is to reduce Aboriginal
imprisonment rates by providing those leaving prison with
"support", and assisting with their "rehabilitation
and their return to families and communities."
Explaining the Government's decision to axe the program that
costs $500,000 annually, Minister Scullion said "In a
competitive funding environment, the reports indicated the service
was not delivering strong enough outcomes on the ground to warrant
further government investment".
The decision came as a "shock" to the Aboriginal Legal
Service. Phil Naden, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT),
considers the work done by the Prisoner ThroughCare staff as
"vitally important". Speaking on the Government's
decision, Mr Naden argued that "Cost-saving measures are one
thing, but a direct hit to frontline services - losing the whole
Prisoner ThroughCare unit – well that's just
Read the Aboriginal Legal Services' Media Release here.
AGED CARE LAW REFORM FOR NEW RESIDENTS FROM 1 JULY 2014 CHANGES
TO ACCOMMODATION PAYMENTS EFFECTIVE 1 JULY 2014
Are you a hostel or nursing home Aged Care Provider? Or a
Resident considering entering into such an Aged Care Facility? If
so, we alert you to some changes in the Aged Care (Living
Longer Living Better) Act 2013, which will become effective
for new residents from 1 July 2014.
Existing residents will remain governed by their current
Agreements with their Aged Care Provider.
The summary of the changes:
Aged Care Providers are now required to advertise their
accommodation on the MyAgedCare website, their own website (if they
have one) and in written documents given to the Resident. The
advertisement must be published in advance and identify the key
features of rooms, price and the payment options for the
Aged Care Providers will now have to seek written approval from
the Aged Care Pricing Commissioner where the prices advertised for
the accommodation exceed $550,000.00.
Aged Care Providers will no longer withhold retention amounts
from accommodation bonds.
There are now three types of Aged Care Facility accommodation
payments which will apply regardless of whether the accommodation
is high care or low care. The three options available to new
residents for payment are:
A lump sum payment known as a "Refundable Accommodation
Deposit" (previously known as an accommodation bond).
A periodic payment known as a "Daily Accommodation
A combination of both the Refundable Accommodation Depositand
Daily Accommodation Payment.
Residents will have up to 28 days after entering the Aged Care
Facility to decide the method of accommodation payment they wish to
There is now a cap on the amount of interest that can be
charged by an Aged Care Provider on any unpaid fees. This is known
as the Maximum
Permissible Interest Rate (MPIR) and is published by the
Department of Social Services every three months.
There are new means testing arrangements to assess Residents
who may be eligible for the Government's accommodation
Fees for services (a Basic Fee and a Means Tested Fee Subsidy)
are also payable, the actual sum varying for each resident
depending upon their income and assets.
Aged care providers should now ensure that all of these changes
are recorded in all Resident Care Services Agreements intended for
signing after 1 July 2014.
If you require any assistance with reviewing your standard
agreements we can assist.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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