Consultation on Aged Care reforms are currently taking place, over a six week period. A discussion paper released by the Hon. Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Aged Care, calls for feedback regarding how older Australians can be supported to live independently at home longer.

Active ageing has underpinned aged care legislation for many years, with an emphasis on maintaining health and social connectivity, through specialised subsidised support programs.

Reported in the Aged Care Guide, Minister Wyatt stated that the Australia Government’s recent policy shift, is to put consumers in control of their care. The discussion paper, regarding these policy objectives and reform options has been developed in response to feedback from the sector.

“The goal is a more consumer-driven, market-based and nationally consistent system – one that is fair and supports older Australians”, said Minister Wyatt.

Minister Wyatt has also welcomed feedback on the Increasing Choice In Home Care changes introduced by the Federal Government in February this year, saying that before making decisions on further reforms, the government wants to hear the views of the sector and the community.

Peak bodies for the aged care sector in Australia Council on the Ageing (COTA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) have both welcomed the announcement.

There is however, some concern expressed by COTA Australia’s Chief Executive Ian Yates. While Mr Yates welcomed the proposed merger of the Commonwealth Home Support and Home Care Packages by 2020, he raised issue regarding the delay of the start date, which was originally July 2018.

“There are a number of issues that will need to be addressed between now and the 2020 merger, including whether any block funding needs to be retained, streamlining means testing, and approved provider arrangements,” outlined Mr Yates, in the Aged Care Guide article.

Consultation on the released discussion paper will remain open from now, until 21 August, 2017 and can be accessed through the Department of Health’s Consultation Hub