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Greens launch comprehensive aged care reform agenda

The Greens launched their aged care policy - Aged Care for the Future – today, outlining their plan to meet the immediate needs of Australia’s aged care sector and set out a comprehensive long-term reform agenda.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson for Health and Ageing, said there is an urgent need to act to sustain aged care services to look after the needs of older Australians.

“There is a serious crisis in aged care services in Australia. We have a growing demand for services that isn't being met. The existing system is dysfunctional and ill-prepared to meet the needs of the future,” Senator Siewert said today.

“The latest data confirms what we already know, but paints an even bleaker picture. We are facing a massive increase in the demand for and cost of aged care in the next 40 years.

“While current policy settings have the demand for aged care services growing by 436% over the next 40 years from $11.1b pa to $59.6b pa in 2050, Access Economics suggest this growth could be in the order of 749%, leading to an annual aged care budget of $94.2b in 2050.

“The Greens believe we need to be proactive – to minimise these future costs and deliver better outcomes and quality of life for ageing Australians," said Senator Siewert.

“The Greens’ plan advocates for an extra $127m to properly index aged care services, $390m investment in community care services to allow older Australians to stay in their homes and communities longer, $100m for better staff wages and conditions, $30m to better support family carers, and $20m for an urgent dementia research program.

“We need fundamental reform of our aged care system to future-proof it, rather than more tinkering around the edges. By focusing on prevention and early intervention to keep people healthy and active, we can act now to mitigate future demand for complex care.

“The Greens have a detailed plan which will provide immediate assistance to the sector and bring about the reforms we need to ensure older Australians are catered for in coming years,” concluded Senator Siewert.

The Greens’ Aged Care for the Future policy also calls for:
• Increased funding and realistic indexation for aged care 
• Increased funding and integration of community care 
• Better wages and conditions for all aged care staff 
• Greater support for informal and family care and for care volunteers 
• Investment in dementia research  
• A single national funder for all aged care services
• A consumer-directed funding model
• An Independent National Aged Care Authority

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