LABOR WELCOMES GREATER CHOICE FOR OLDER AUSTRALIANS

Today Labor welcomes the commencement of the next stage of reforms in the delivery of home care for older Australians.

The changes are a direct result of the ten year reform strategy, Living Longer, Living Better, which Labor delivered in 2012.

If implemented well these reforms have the capacity to improve the care outcomes of older Australians.

These reforms should put older Australians in the driver’s seat, allowing them to decide not only how they receive care and services but also who provides their package.

It is a testament to the strength of Living Longer, Living Better that this reform agenda is continuing to deliver for older Australians.

Labor is however very concerned that poor implementation and underinvestment by the Turnbull Liberal Government may undermine the benefits of these reforms.

The Turnbull Liberal Government has done nothing to address wait times of more than six months for ACAT assessments.

It also has no idea whether the supply of home care packages is sufficient for the growing demand of older Australians.

A lack of regulation around exit fees for consumers who change providers and the lowering of accreditation standards for aged care providers may also threaten the reforms.

Critically it remains to be seen whether the error-ridden my aged care portal can deliver, let alone withstand the changes.

The complete shut-down of the my aged care website for three days to integrate the reforms shows just how fragile the system is to change and how hard it will be to respond to service failures.

Labor acknowledges department officials and aged care providers who have worked hard to deliver these reforms for the benefit of older Australians, despite a revolving door of Ministers and an increasingly unstable political environment.