ABC’s Anne Connolly investigates on the new aged care laws

New Australian aged care laws: will older Australians finally be heard?

The Australian government is poised to pass sweeping reforms to aged care in the form of a new Aged Care Act. These changes are intended to address the serious problems and neglect laid bare in the ABC’s Four Corners investigations and the subsequent Royal Commission into aged care.

However, a new investigative piece by ABC’s Anne Connolly raises serious concerns about the influence of industry lobbyists and the potential sidelining of older Australians’ voices.

Advocacy groups have been accused of being too dependent on government funding and failing to effectively represent the needs of older Australians. Independent advocates express frustration about the dominance of industry voices in shaping policy.

Key concerns raised in the article

  • Aged care assessments privatised and governed by algorithm: The government plans to outsource assessments for care and use a potentially inflexible computer algorithm to determine care levels. This could restrict choice and force the elderly into inappropriate forms of care.
  • Retirement villages to profit from home care packages: A lucrative change will allow retirement villages to directly manage pooled funding for residents’ home care. The lack of clear regulations poses risks to quality of care for seniors within these villages.
  • Charter of rights, but not enforceable: While the legislation touts a charter of rights for the elderly, this may be purely symbolic. There are no legal mechanisms to enforce those rights if they are breached.
  • Lack of minimum training standards: Shockingly, the laws do not mandate minimum training requirements for aged care workers despite the Royal Commission’s recommendations and documented evidence of care issues related to underqualified staff.

It’s Not Too Late

The legislation’s delay provides a window of opportunity. Connolly writes that grassroots advocates and concerned citizens still have a chance to make their concerns heard and push for legislation that truly prioritises the needs of older Australians.

At Aged Care Reform Now we remain as active as ever to make our voices heard and demand transparency in the system and a new Aged Care Act that focuses on the human rights of older people. Join us to discuss these issues and engage with government on these reforms.

Spread the word. It matters.

This is critical legislation affecting the lives of millions of Australians, both now and in the future. Read and share the ABC article, and encourage people to demand a better, fairer aged care system where the dignity and rights of older Australians are upheld.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-17/lobbyist-influence-on-new-aged-care-laws-evident-advocates-say/103672736

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