The Federal Government has committed an extra $662 million in aged care funding, describing it as a significant investment in senior Australians.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the funding on the eve of the Royal Commission into aged care holding its first hearing.
Of the money, $320 million equates to every person living in residential aged care having an extra $1800 spent on their care by June.
More than $280 million will go towards an extra 10,000 home care packages, with additional funding also earmarked for dementia care and for veterans with mental health conditions.
“Older Australians have worked hard all their life, paid taxes and done their fair share, and they deserve our support,” Mr Morrison said.
“Looking after older Australians is the Government’s top priority. It’s why as Prime Minister and Treasurer I have delivered thousands of additional home care places.
“These places give older Australians a choice about how and where they want to live.”
But labor has described the funding as “too little, too late” and said the Government has cut more in aged care funding than it is now committing to give back.
“This announcement isn’t even half of Scott Morrison’s aged care cuts as Treasurer,” said Shadow Ageing Minister Julie Collins.
“The waiting list for home care has grown to 127,000, with many waiting more than a year to receive the care they have been approved for.”
And while the Council on the Ageing Australia has welcomed the extra money, it said some of it should be allocated for extra staff in aged care facilities.
“It is disappointing there are no conditions attached to require providers to use the additional funding to increase staff numbers and/or support workforce training and development programs that will lift the standard of care in nursing homes,” Chief Executive Ian Yates said