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Media Release: Aged Care Taskforce - Great Expectations

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, unveiled the Aged Care Taskforce's terms of reference and members, including our former CEO Professor John McCallum, during her address at the National Press Club of Australia. National Seniors promptly responded to the announcement.

National Seniors Australia welcomes the terms of reference and the announcement of the members of the Aged Care Taskforce which includes former CEO of National Seniors Australia Professor John McCallum. The primary function of the taskforce is to review funding arrangements, including consumer contributions to aged care.

“National Seniors Australia called for an independent body to examine funding in past budget submissions, so we hope this taskforce goes some way towards achieving this goal,” said National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate Ian Henschke.

“Whatever funding model is put forward must be fair, transparent, and efficient. Critically, no older person will be willing to contribute more unless they can be assured, they will receive better and higher quality care.

“There are rightly great expectations from today’s announcement but also trepidation, and it will be up to government to put forward a credible and fair plan and be willing to engage in a conversation with the community.”

National Seniors welcomes the Minister’s recognition that dementia care is core to aged care with the majority of people in aged care living with dementia. We have long argued that dementia care must be a part of training. National Seniors looks forward to contributing to the development of the Ten-Year Dementia Action Plan. We also need action to address the deficiency in palliative care and end of life care.

“We welcome the Minister’s recognition that the workforce shortage remains the biggest issue facing the sector. As National Seniors has said many times before, increased recruitment, better training and retention of workers are the keys to overall success,” Mr Henschke said.

“While the recent 15% pay increase helps, government needs to do more to attract and retain workers. A dedicated mature age traineeship scheme, such as the one trialled in South Australia, will help attract more mature workers to the sector.

“The government must now consider our Let Pensioners Work proposal to reduce the income test taper rate for people in the care sector. This will make it more attractive to keep working past pension age and give care workers more income and savings in later life.”

Ian Henschke is available for comment, please call 0488 047 380 to arrange an interview.

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