The 2021-22 Budget comes at a critical time.
At its core, the Budget must transform the despair left in the wake of the Aged Care Royal Commission into hope and ‘restore faith’ in the aged care system.
One of the first and most important steps is to give people what they want – an end to the rationing of home care, especially at the higher level of need. This will require more adequately trained workers and could be achieved by introducing a training program, targeted at mature age jobseekers.
To help people get additional support we propose a new scheme to enable older Australians to safely unlock their home equity to help more people stay in their homes and out of residential care.
Another area needing urgent reform is the retirement income system.
It must support all older Australians to maintain a decent standard of living in retirement.
The recent Retirement Income Review highlighted the need to help those less fortunate, by improving assistance to renters.
We need a simpler, fairer system. One that rewards people who save and one that gives them the confidence to spend in retirement. To achieve this, we need to reform the tax and transfer system.
The federal government should also give older Australians a means to invest in sustainability. This can be done through a safe investment option to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.
The recommendations in our submission provide the federal government with policy options to fix some of the biggest challenges facing older Australians. We hope these recommendations will be taken up – to build a better future for all.
We are calling for immediate action to begin the repair of the aged care system. This can be done by ensuring the three following reforms are included as centrepieces in the 2021 Budget:
- Strengthen home care
- Create a dedicated Home Care Loans Scheme
- Foster multi-partisan support for additional aged care funding.
There is a need to improve the retirement income system for all retirees to ensure both income adequacy and confidence. To do this the 2021 Budget should:
- Fix pension poverty for seniors who rent
- Restore trust in pension means testing
- Investigate the costs and benefits of a universal pension.
Older Australians care about the future and want to protect the environment for future generations. The 2021 Budget can assist this goal by helping older Australians invest in the future:
- Create a green infrastructure bond scheme for investment in clean energy generation and storage.