The Federal Government must act quickly to implement the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission to prevent further deaths, abuse and neglect in aged care homes, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“On balance, we welcome the recommendations delivered today by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety,” said lawyer, aged care advocate and spokesperson for the ALA, Ms Catherine Henry. “Our concern is that, based on its actions over recent years, the Government is not serious about aged care reform and will delay necessary action.
“Five years is too long to wait. An urgent response to the problems in the sector is required. Despite more than 30 reviews over the past 20 years we have not seen any evidence of an appetite for reform.”
A key recommendation in the Royal Commission’s report released today is the amendment of the Aged Care Act 1997.
“A new Aged Care Act is critical and we need to get this right but waiting for this legislation to be drafted cannot be an excuse to delay the implementation of other essential actions,” said Ms Henry. “A new Aged Care Act will replace the current legislation which was designed by providers for providers and has allowed profits to prevail over quality of care.
“Strong and robust regulation of the sector is one of the most important aspects of any reform process and it is a great shame that this is an area where the Commissioners could not agree – creating unnecessary uncertainty. This confusion could well be an excuse for government inaction.
“The regulatory system for aged care is a spectacular failure, and we need a new regime that delivers robust regulation, transparency of data and a broad suite of legal avenues available to hold providers to account when they don’t meet expectations.
The sector is in crisis and the Government must act urgently to implement these recommendations and put in place stronger regulation. There are still older Australians suffering and at risk in aged care facilities and those caring for them face an uphill battle to provide appropriate care.
“The Federal Government was quick to promise that it would implement the recommendations of the Financial Services Royal Commission. Two years on and a majority of the reforms have been delayed and some have been abandoned completely.
“This is not acceptable and it will not be acceptable for the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations to face similar delays. Older Australians deserve better.”