Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the additional packages on Wednesday. Source: Getty.
In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Morrison government last week announced it will be rolling out an additional 6,105 Home Care Packages in a bid to protect older Australians who may otherwise have had to move into residential care.
The extra 6,105 Home Care Packages brings the total number of additional packages to over 50,000 since the 2018–19 Budget, at a cost of more than $3 billion.
‘This is about ensuring that Australians, as they age, have greater choices, that families have greater choices,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘We have many challenges in this country at the moment, but we will see our economy strengthen, we will see Australians kept safe whether it’s from COVID or the many other threats that this nation faces, and we will guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on.’
COTA Australia issued a statement after the announcement describing the new packages as a ‘welcome but small step forward’ in terms of meeting demand, however still short of what is needed.
COTA Chief Executive, Ian Yates, says it’s vital to reduce the waiting times for Home Care Packages. After assessment, the aim should be a maximum two-month wait time before older Australians can receive the level of care for which they have been assessed.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that the Aged Care Royal Commission would once again extend its reporting period, this time by a further three-and-a-half months, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The commission will now deliver its final report by February 26, 2021.
Yates added: ‘The Royal Commission is a critical opportunity to overhaul the way Australia delivers aged care. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to enact major reform and ensure high quality and appropriate aged care is properly funded for the first time so that it available to all on a timely and equitable basis – which it’s not now.’
Read more in Starts at 60.