After receiving extensive stakeholder feedback from the Aged Care sector, The Albanese Government has pushed back the Support at Home Program reforms to July 2024.
In announcing the new start date, the Australian Government has cited it needs more time to ensure the Program fully aligned with Royal Commission recommendations. The new date aligns with the initial recommendation as presented through the Royal Commission’s Report.
The announcement was also a response to market push-back that more time would be required for sector consultation to ensure all stakeholders were fully informed and had adequate time for planning and implementing the new business model. One such change was mandatory aged care worker registration as unions and providers argue over details of the scheme.
What does it mean for Aged Care Providers?
The good news is that it gives providers more time to prepare for what’s set to be a significant change in how the government will fund aged care services to over 1 million elderly Australians.
Whilst the implications are unclear, the model has been compared to the NDIS program that provides more ‘choice and control’ to recipients whilst reducing risks by improving worker screening requirements.
The other (immediate) issue facing the sector is managing the depleting and stressed workforce. A widely supported ray of hope is emerging with the Australian Fair Work Commission now considering a Union submission for a 25% increase for residential and home care workers with the Federal Government proposing to fund the potential pay rise.
Stakeholders in the Aged Care Community have welcomed the delay and are looking forward to the opportunity to participate in mooted system pilots which will inform final system design.