COTA Australia Media Release
On the one year anniversary of the Tune Review Report into aged care being handed to government, COTA Australia, the leading advocacy organisation for older Australian, is calling for the government to set out a clear timetable by the end of this year for when and how remaining recommendations of the report will be implemented.
The report of the Aged Care Legislated Review by David Tune AO PSM was presented to the government on July 31 last year.
The report made 38 recommendations covering a wide range of changes, including further consumer-focused reforms such as scaling user charges to be proportional to the value of the package of support received.
COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates welcomed the Government’s More Choices for a Longer Life package in the Federal Budget that had addressed some of the Tune recommendations and started responding to others, but left key issues for the future of aged care unaddressed and up in the air.
“We welcome the Government’s in principle commitment to more consumer choice in residential aged care in this year’s budget, but older Australians deserve a clear timetable of when all the Tune report recommendations will be implemented,” Mr Yates said.
“It is unfair that one year on from the Government receiving these reports that older Australians are no clearer when some of the financial recommendations will be acted upon.” The Tune Review recommends proportional payment of user charges so that someone on a $7,000 Level 1 package is contributing less than someone on a $45,000 Level 4 package.
“User charges is one area that needs a clear time-frame and a long implementation schedule. Asking older Australians to pay 17.5% of their age pension, regardless of the amount of support they get, is unfair and distorts consumer choices – it doesn’t pass the pub test. Nor is it fair that some consumers on home care packages pay more than other consumers receiving in-home support services from the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
“These are the issues that a comprehensive response to the Tune report should address together with the need to increase both government financial support and user contributions from those with ability to pay.
“We need rational and consistent user pays across aged care, but also do need user charges that ensure those who can afford to pay do so in order that those who have no resources are equally well supported,” Mr Yates said.
“However before more resources are poured into residential aged care the bed licence system in residential aged care must be scrapped with the transition to a new system completed within four years, which is more than enough time for the aged care sector to prepare and adapt to a less constrained market in which consumers get to say who should grow and who should go.
“COTA supports the ‘Impact Study’ government is conducting into this change but after that the change must be a legislated timeline, set out by the end of this year so that deadlines cannot blow out.
Mr Yates said COTA had welcomed the government’s commitment in the Budget to provide an additional 14,000 home care packages. However, he said COTA would continue to call for a further increase in the supply of high level Home Care Packages and restructuring of the home care system.