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(Australian Associated Press)
Aged care consumer groups have challenged the Morrison government to deliver urgent reforms to the trouble-plagued sector.
Providers have also outlined a 15-point plan to quickly improve the aged care system.
In their formal response to the aged care royal commission, advocacy groups have outlined a handful of key changes they want to see implemented in the upcoming federal budget.
They want to see an aged care system that treats older people with respect, ensures greater control over their support and delivers appropriate, safe and timely services at a fair price.
Ian Yates from the Council on the Ageing said the reform package should be implemented within the next 12 to 18 months.
“The last thing Australians deserve is the government kicking the can down the road on many of the key changes we need,” he said on Monday.
“The government cannot get away with cherry picking a few recommendations now but saying it will consider the rest later.”
The groups want stronger governance, integrity and accountability in the aged care sector with more funding, quality control and consumer influence in the system.
They have recommended setting up an implementation task force with an independent chair and senior government officials to drive the reforms.
“In the coming year, the Morrison government can give older Australians more choice, control and transparency in aged care than they have ever been allowed before,” Mr Yates said.
“We recognise the government faces significant challenges in implementing the royal commission’s recommendations in full, including the need for major budget funding and a major increase in workforce, but these must be met.
“This is Australia’s ‘line in the sand’ moment for giving us the aged care system we deserve and expect.”
Patricia Sparrow from Australian Aged Care Collaboration, which represents more than 1000 providers, said an overhaul of the sector was urgently needed.
“If we are to set up our aged care system to guarantee all older Australians the respect and dignity they deserve we need a total overhaul of the funding model and workforce strategy, not more fiddling at the edges,” she said.
Ms Sparrow said broad and ambitious reforms were required.
“As part of this big picture reform we must see the critical aged care workforce grow and be well supported through better pay, conditions and training,” she said.
KEY DEMANDS OF CONSUMER GROUPS
* Increased transparency for aged care providers
* Minimum staffing levels
* Wage increases for workers
* Stronger powers for the independent regulator
* A new rights-based aged care act