Today we saw the release of the long-awaited response from the Government to the recommendations of the Productivity Commission report on Aged Care.
We congratulate the Australian Government on adopting an achievable and practical approach to reforming the industry. There is much to be pleased about in this report for clients, for family members and for organisations.
The policies announced today will do much to create a more stable and sustainable future for the industry. It will also create a higher standard of care delivery across the industry as funding becomes more diverse and realistic, and competition increases.
There is much we still don’t know about the implementation of these reforms, and it is often these details that can derail an otherwise sensible reform agenda. I am encouraged, however, at the strong positive response that these reforms are receiving, and the determination of many within the industry to grasp this rare opportunity to improve the structure of our organisations and services for our community.
Among the reforms announced is a significant additional investment into Home Care places. We believe this is recognition from the Government of the value that many older people place on staying in their own homes for as long as possible.
I have listened to the media reports with some interest today, and while there is clearly some misunderstanding of what these reforms may mean, one thing that struck me was the dissociation of many commentators from the services being delivered.
There have been many references made to the importance of caring for our ‘elderly’ into the future, without there being much recognition that the elderly we are designing the system for now, are the commentators, policy makers, and industry employees that are working on these issues today.
As uncomfortable as it may make us feel to consider our own mortality, there is a very high possibility that we will all need aged care services one day. The more interest we take in aged care policy while we can do something about it, the better the experience we will all have when we need access to it.
If you have ideas on what we can do to improve aged care in Australia, please share them with me.