Monday 11 February 2019 will be remembered as one of the most important days for aged care in Australia, as the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety begins its first public hearings in Adelaide.
Our Government established the Royal Commission to shine a light on the sector and the hearings will look at key features of the aged care system, the concerns of residents, families and their advocates and the experiences of people receiving aged care services.
Over the coming days and months the stories and events told before the Commission will not be easy to hear but they are necessary.
Our Government shares community expectations that the quality and safety of aged care services must be of an uncompromisingly high standard.
The Royal Commission is an opportunity to focus on the current and future needs of aged care and to ensure these expectations are met, Minister Wyatt said.
While the vital work of the Royal Commission gets underway, the Liberal National Government remains committed to providing senior Australians with access to care which supports their dignity and recognises the contribution they have made to our society.
Our senior Australians are among our greatest treasures—they deserve the best aged care possible.
We are continuing to take steps to improve the system for the benefit of all Australians.
In 2017, we commissioned the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes.
We have worked through the 2017 Legislated Review of Aged Care, and responded in the 2018 Budget through the comprehensive More Choices for a Longer Life package, to deliver better quality of care, better access to care and better ageing.
We have created the new, independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to handle complaints and accredit, assess and monitor the compliance of aged care facilities against new quality standards. We legislated for new Aged Care Quality Standards, the first upgrade of standards in 20 years.
We have increased aged care funding by around $1 billion a year since 2013 and will increase funding by a further $5 billion over the next four years.
At MYEFO in December 2018, our Government announced a $552.9 million aged care investment and we have added to this with a further $662 million commitment this month.
Since the 2018 Budget, we have announced the release of 40,000 packages, plus a record allocation of 13,500 residential aged care places and 775 short term restorative care places across the nation.
The overwhelming majority of people working in aged care do the right thing.
Nevertheless, findings of serious risk against service providers rose by 177 per cent over the past year.
Our Government will continue to implement our aged care reforms at full pace, while the Royal Commission goes about its important work.
The first rounds of subject-matter hearings will be held over 11–13 February and 18–22 February 2019.