Aged Care Sector Committee - Communiqué (5 September 2014)
The Aged Care Sector Committee met in Melbourne on Friday September 2014 for the fourth time since its creation in January 2014.
The Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, attended part of the meeting to discuss with the Committee their work in developing the Aged Care Statement of Principles. The Committee advised that the proposed Statement of Principles was now ready to present to Ministers Fifield and Andrews for consideration.
The Committee Chair, Professor Peter Shergold, outlined how the proposed Statement of Principles identifies the roles and responsibilities of each partner in a constructive and lasting partnership, and provides a framework for initiating strategic conversations with the aged care sector about the future direction for aged care in Australia. Initiating these strategic conversations with the sector to get a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities the Principles create was the next step.
The Committee also discussed with Minister Fifield the impact of the recent reforms to the financial arrangements for aged care including the positive impacts on investor sentiment and increased consumer choice. They also raised issues affecting aged care payments to some approved providers and means test assessment delays for some care recipients.
Minister Fifield thanked the Committee for their work in developing the Statement of Principles and the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan. The Minister highlighted the important role the Committee plays in advising Government about what is happening on the ground and providing a holistic overview from the sector on progress in implementing the reform agenda.
Following Minister Fifield’s departure, the Committee discussed a number of issues including: usage of My Aged Care by consumers and providers and opportunities for further development; the Higher Accommodation Supplement and mechanisms for regular monitoring of uptake; and the upcoming forum on Dementia.
The Chair of the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA), Ms Lynda O’Grady provided a detailed overview of the Authority’s second Annual Report and an update on ACFA’s role in monitoring the impact of the 1 July 2014 financial reforms on the aged care sector.
The Committee will next convene in Canberra on the 20th of November 2014.