Budget leaves aged care 'in limbo'
Aged Community Services Australia has questioned the Federal Budget’s funding for aged care, saying this year’s Federal Budget has left aged care 'in limbo'.
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Acting CEO Pat Sparrow said funding for critical aged care services remained unchanged despite appeals for modest increases in subsidies in the midst of rising costs and greater demand.
“While ACSA acknowledges the constraints on the Federal Budget at a particularly challenging time, the industry is putting the Government on notice that 2012 must be the aged care budget,” Ms Sparrow said.
“However, no new funding means those providers will continue to struggle to deliver optimum services to frail older Australians and will again be hampered in plans to meet increasing consumer demand.
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said the Federal Government had taken a number of steps to improve aged care, saying the Budget continues investment in the aged care industry to meet the increasing demand for services in rural and remote areas.
“Under our National Health Reforms, we are developing a nationally consistent aged care system, covering basic home care through to nursing homes,’’ Mr Butler said.
Funding of $16 million will be provided to continue higher payments that support the viability of aged care providers that deliver services in rural and remote areas.
The 40 percent increase in the so-called viability supplement, introduced as part of the 2009-10 Budget, will be extended for one year, allowing the Government to consider long-term reform options for the sector.
This funding will extend support for aged care providers to continue to provide support in rural and remote areas, and those that provide services for the homeless and Indigenous Australians. This will benefit more than 300 aged-care providers.