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  • Budget 2023-24: Aged Care Funding Reform
Budget 2023-24: Aged Care Funding Reform

Budget 2023-24: Aged Care Funding Reform

After a challenging few years for the Aged Care sector in Australia, the 2023-24 Federal Budget offers the hope of some reprieve with over $36 billion being allocated to supporting the industry.

The BIG news from this budget is the massive $11.3 billion in funding for staff pay increases of 15% for more than 250,000 Australian aged care staff. This is the largest-ever pay rise for aged care workers and will help bring new workers into the industry and assist aged care providers in retaining current staff.

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells stated, "I think $11.3 billion to increase pay is an enormous deal. It's (an extra) $7,000 a year for professional carers and $10,000 a year for nurses. We've got modelling that says that the … commitment to lifting wages should attract about 10,000 more workers to the sector."

The Australian Government will provide an additional 9,500 Home Care Packages ($166.8 million), plus there will be systems in place to allow the elderly to choose their provider for more choice and greater control.

There has been increasing support for the intention to delay the Support at Home program ($73.1 million) to allow for more refinement in the structure of the program. The release of the program has been delayed till July 1, 2025, while extending the current program in the meantime. The program will also include another $71.5 million for the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority to carry out costing research activities to develop efficient unit prices annually.

Over the next 4 years, there will be $487 million in extra funding for the Disability Support for Older Australians Program. With $133.6 million in funding ongoing each year from 2028.

In other areas, $73 million is being spent on a new modelling framework for the Aged Care Act to improve safety and quality by regulating providers. This will cover food and nutrition reporting ($12.9 million), ratings for better data quality and analysis ($126.7 million), widening the Quality Indicator program for in-home care services ($11.9 million) and establishing the new Monthly Care Statement program to provide better information to residents ($1.3 million).

Inadequacies in nutrition for aged care residents have become a major focal point recently, leading to a Food, Nutrition and Dining (FND) Advisory Support Unit being established within the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC). Some of their main objectives are to establish a hotline specifically for food complaints (to be operated by dieticians), the capacity for up to 720 random spot checks annually, clinical dietary advice to be made available to residents and increased nutritional training for aged care cooks and chefs ($12.9 million).

New incentives will be offered to GPs to provide better quality and ongoing healthcare management for aged care residents ($112 million) through MyMedicare. There is $52 million in extra funding for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program to improve care and support for First Nation elders and an extra $7.2 million to increase the capacity for Aboriginal Controlled Organisations to care for First Nation elders in Country.


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