Catholic Health Australia, Australia’s largest non-government grouping of aged care services, today welcomed the federal government’s additional funding for home care packages but says future reform and funding needs to address a looming shortfall of a properly trained and valued workforce to care for older Australians.
The Morrison government will fund a further 10,000 home care packages for older Australians at a cost of $850m, as announced in the MYEFO.
However, with some 100,000 people still on the home care waiting list, Catholic Health Australia chief executive Pat Garcia, notes there is a long path ahead.
“The Morrison government, to its credit, has recognised the yawning gap between seniors seeking home care and the packages available,” Mr Garcia said.
“At every opportunity available the Morrison government has increased the number of packages available.
“Today’s funding announcement will change the lives of many older Australians and their families who will be able to live with greater comfort and security in their own homes. However, it is important we recognise that leaves around 100,000 older Australians still languishing without the support they require. As a nation we can and must do better.
Mr Garcia said all eyes will be on next year’s Budget which will be handed down in the wake of the Royal Commission’s final report in February. In its interim report the Commission noted that the “aged care sector is grappling with how to attract, train, retain, and sustain its workforce.”
“As part of any additional funding measures we need new initiatives to grow, upskill and value our aged care workforce,” Mr Garcia said.
“These remarkable women and men deserve greater support in their jobs. A better valued and trained workforce is essential to deliver high quality aged care services that meet community expectations.”
Note to editors: Catholic Health Australia (CHA) is Australia’s largest non-government grouping of health and aged care services accounting for approximately 10 percent of hospital-based healthcare in Australia. Our members also provide around 25 percent of private hospital care, 5 percent of public hospital care, 12 percent of aged care facilities, and 20 percent of home care and support for the elderly.