Getting aged care services in Australia today is a game of chance. Too many older Australians struggle to find the care they need, when they need it.
That’s because our aged care system is not based on need. An older person can be assessed as requiring care, but it’s a lottery as to whether they’ll be able to get it or not, and if it’s what they want.
The Government only awards an aged care service to 112 of every 1000 Australians over 70 years. If you are number 113 or more in your area you join a long waiting list for care, regardless of how urgently you need it.
Since the Australians Deserves to Age Well campaign launched in 2012 there have been a number of changes made to the system that will help. But there is much more that still needs to be done to make sure older Australians get the care and services they need, when and where they need them.
We are calling on all political parties in the 2016 Federal election to commit to a timetable to end the aged care lottery.
With an ageing population, we need to make sure we have a good aged care system that can meet the needs of older people now and into the future.
Who we are
The Australians Deserve to Age Well campaign is run by the National Aged Care Alliance – a coalition of 48 aged care consumer advocates, service providers, professionals and unions to reform Australia’s aged care system and make sure all Australians can age well.
In 2009 the then 25 members of the National Aged Care Alliance (the Alliance) joined forces to come up with a vision statement on how to improve Australia’s aged care system. The Alliance campaigned for this vision and gained a Productivity Commission Inquiry into aged care.
Within two years, in 2011, the Productivity Commission had explored the issues and delivered to Government the Caring for Older Australians report which set out a clear and definitive way forward for reform.
In 2012, the Australians Deserve to Age Well Campaign was launched by the then 28 members of the Alliance. A Blueprint for reform was presented in Parliament House to the then ALP Minister, the Coalition Shadow Minister, and the Australian Greens spokesperson.
Later in 2012 dozens of Age Well supporters descended on Parliament House, rallying on the front lawn and visiting Question Time to remind the Government of the need to take action for aged care in the 2012 budget.
We did get major aged care reform in the 2012 Federal Budget, with the Living Longer Living Better (LLLB) package launched by the Prime Minister and Minister just a week before the budget itself. The LLB package went a long way toward the productivity Commission and Blueprint reforms; but not all the way.
In 2013 Age Well hosted a breakfast with Parliamentarians encouraging them to continue the aged care reforms by ending the aged care lottery.
In 2015 the current Government announced significant new reforms in its May Budget which start in February 2017 with consumers being given control of Home Care Packages and being able to decide who will provide them. The government also endorsed the Statement of Principles developed by the Aged Care Sector Committee and asked it to develop a Roadmap to complete the reform process, especially in residential aged care.
At the same time the Alliance’s Blueprint II responded to the Australian Government’s desire to look at further reform and the Aged Care Sector Statement of Principles developed to guide future reform. It sets out our vision, the objectives we think need to be met to fulfil the vision, and the steps that stakeholders, particularly governments, can take to create a stronger aged care future for all.
Now, in 2016 members of the National Aged Care Alliance, along with thousands of older Australians and people concerned about the future of aged care in Australia, have come together to continue to advocate for Governments of all persuasions to ‘End the Aged Care Lottery’.