Taskforce Highlights Long-Term Aged Care Challenge

The final report of the Aged Care Taskforce has been released this week and it makes for some sobering reading.

Unless there is a major overhaul of aged care funding to make it more sustainable, Australia won’t be able to afford to provide quality aged care to all who need it.

This has been a developing issue for decades. In the early 1970s there were more than seven Australian workers earning a wage for every elderly Australian requiring some form of government supported aged care. Today, the ratio is about 4.5:1. Within 40 years the ratio is projected to fall to 2:1.

There are parallel challenges in several other advanced economies with increasing life expectancies and reasonable health care. More people are living longer, and that means they need to be cared for and someone has to pay for it.

In some countries the culture is oriented towards aged care in multi-generational family home settings, but that’s rarely the case here. Surveys in Australia consistently show most people are prepared to pay handsomely to ensure their elderly relatives receive quality aged care in an appropriate residential setting, either at home or an institutional or community-based aged care facility.

But it’s an increasingly expensive exercise. Most residential aged care providers in Australia are operating at a loss and are only propped up by taxpayer funds. Last year’s Budget, for example, had an additional $11.3 billion over four years for aged care just to cover wage rises in the sector. More money was allocated for personal aged care services. By 2026, taxpayers will spend almost $36 billion on aged care as more people enter the system to join the 1.5 million Australians already in it. That’s almost as much as we spend on defence.

Labor has ruled out a tax levy to support increased aged care funding (however, they rule out a lot of things that sooner or later come to pass), and the taskforce’s recommendations strongly hint at requiring a greater co-contribution from aged care patients themselves. However as Senator Pauline Hanson has noted more than once, many people entering the system already give most of their pension and much of the value of their home in exchange for an aged care bed and the services that come with it.

One Nation awaits the government’s response to the taskforce report, and will work to ensure that any future funding model for aged care in Australia is sustainable and ensures elderly Australians receive the best possible care.

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  • One Nation
    published this page in News 2024-03-14 16:03:41 +1000