In this Budget, we are investing $408.5 million to improve the care and quality of the aged care system. This responds to both the COVID-19 pandemic and urgent issues raised by the Royal Commission into Quality and Safety in Aged Care.
Funding has increased from $13.3 billion in 2012–13 to $23.9 billion in 2020–21, $24.5 billion in 2021–22, $25.9 billion in 2022–23 and $27.1 billion in 2023–24.
A record 23,000 home care packages are being delivered at a cost of $1.6 billion. This continues our support for senior Australians who seek to live in their homes for longer. The packages will start to be released from 2020. The Government has now invested an additional $4.6 billion in more than 73,105 packages since the 2018–19 Budget. The Government has increased packages from 60,308 at 30 June 2013 to 155,625 at 30 June 2020 and an estimated 185,597 at 30 June 2021.
Building on COVID-19-specific support already provided, and our initial response to the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission report on COVID-19, we have now provided an additional $1.6 billion to support the aged care sector’s pandemic response. As part of this funding, aged care providers must have one or more trained infection control officers to improve infection control management. This Budget delivers $746.3 million which includes:
- $81 million for additional surge workforce and increased training for aged care workers on top of $101.2 million announced in March 2020
- $8.4 million for supplementary payments to help cover quarantine costs and interstate staff
- $205.1 million extension of the Aged Care Workforce Retention Bonus Payment
- More than $9.1 million to support the establishment of the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre
- More than $12.5 million to increase availability of grief and trauma support services for aged care residents and their families.
We are continuing the COVID-19 supplement to all Commonwealth-funded aged care providers and the 30 per cent increase in the viability supplement and the residential care homeless supplement for a further six months ($245 million). Further funding helps providers cover the costs of implementing single site workforce arrangements in hotspots ($92.4 million). We are also providing support for older Australians who temporarily relocate from residential aged care facilities to live with their family during the pandemic ($71.4 million).
The Budget tackles issues already identified by the Royal Commission. The misuse of chemical and physical restraints for people living with dementia will be targeted. More specialist counselling teams will be available to provide expert psychosocial services, including face-to-face and by video and telephone ($11.3 million).
People in residential aged care will be better protected from abuse, and serious incidents will be better responded to and managed. A Serious Incident Response Scheme will provide more ‘boots on the ground’ staff – nearly 70 extra staff – to regulate the scheme, inspect services and provide safeguards for people in aged care. Providers will be held to account for managing and reporting incidents ($29.8 million). This will assist in addressing concerns raised by the Aged Care Royal Commission report into COVID-19.
We will stop younger people with a disability going into aged care. A new national organisation, supported by up to 40 system co-ordinators, will connect young people to more age-appropriate facilities ($10.6 million).
We are reforming how residential aged care is funded. The Budget funds the second stage in the implementation of the new Australian National Aged Care Classification system ($91.6 million). This will enable independent assessments to deliver more accurate funding to meet the care needs of residents.
Our Government will continue the Business Improvement Fund and add funding capacity to provide grants to eligible residential aged care facilities that are experiencing financial difficulty ($35.6 million).
Our Government will invest $10.3 million in the Aged Care Workforce Council. This will build a workforce with the required skills, attitudes and flexibility to provide high quality consumer‑focused care to older Australians, and increase recruitment and retention.
This Budget provides funding of $10.8 million to help ensure that our aged care nurses are supported and well equipped to improve the care and in particular, infection control in aged care as raised by the Royal Commission.
Prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
This Budget provides $4 billion in Indigenous health funding over the coming four years, including $975.5 million in 2020–21. It builds on our efforts to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve health outcomes.
The COVID-19 response measures in this Budget continue the significant work undertaken to keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people safe. This includes funding to extend the 86 Point of Care testing sites in rural and remote areas, support to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and enabling unprecedented access to culturally safe assessment and testing across urban and regional areas, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations operating 23 of the up to 150 GP-led Respiratory Clinics.
From 1 July 2020 the Government has also provided an additional $90 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations under a new funding model, which provides three-year funding agreements and annual indexation.
The Government has also announced the investment of almost $35 million in 42 projects in areas such as ending avoidable Indigenous deafness, ending avoidable Indigenous blindness, and helping to eradicate chronic kidney disease (including investment of $14.4 million provided through the first grant round of the Indigenous Health Research Fund).
A further $33 million is being provided through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme to expand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services.
In addition, work is under way to refresh the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, and to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Workforce Plan, both of which are being developed in full partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives.
Building a healthy, active Australia
As Australia charts a path to living with COVID-19, it is important for people to engage in healthy, active and connected lifestyles.
We continue to fund the successful Sporting Schools Program for another year, supporting schools to partner with national sporting organisations to deliver high quality sport-based activity, free to students ($39.6 million). Up to 5,500 primary schools and 500 secondary schools will receive grants. Since it started in 2015, Sporting Schools has distributed $240 million in grants.
Australians will see the world’s best female football players in action when the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is held in Australia and New Zealand. The Morrison Government is providing $2.4 million to Football Federation Australia to start planning now, pending impacts of COVID-19 on international travel. Australia has not hosted a sporting event of this magnitude since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
The Government will also provide funding of $4.7 million in 2020-21 to the Australian Sports Foundation to increase the fundraising capacity of community sport clubs, and enhance the organisation’s information technology network and cyber security functions.