$1bn aged care boost to fund 10,000 in-home packages
A billion dollars will be poured into the aged care sector to help clear the massive waiting lists for in-home care packages and provide mental health support for the elderly.
For the third consecutive year the federal government will unveil an increase in aged care spending in the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, this time creating 10,000 new home care packages at a cost of more than $850 million alone.
The additional investment brings the total number of packages funded to 50,000 since the Aged Care Royal Commission's interim report was released.
It recommended the entire waiting list of about 100,000 be cleared.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the health and wellbeing of older Australians was "an absolute priority".
"By providing more support to people at home, we are ensuring that Australians, as they age, have greater choices and their families have greater choices," he said.
"We will continue to address the many challenges there are in aged care, not only by boosting funding but also providing better access to health services to improve physical and mental wellbeing for older Australians."
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the new packages would contribute to an increase in the number of Australians receiving in-home care support to about 195,600 by June next year.
"The latest investment underlines our commitment to help older Australians live at home for longer," he said.
"It's an important measure that can be instrumental to overall health and wellbeing and offer reassurance to families that their loved one is receiving appropriate care."
The funding announcement also includes an additional $57.8m for aged care under the National Partnership on COVID-19 Response, and $63.3m to support access to mental and allied health service for the elderly.
The extension of the National Partnership on COVID-19 Response will bolster protection measures including expert training and support in infection prevention and control for all states and territories.
Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the investment underlined the "commitment" of the government to implement the Royal Commission's recommendations in its special COVID-19 report.
"The virus has presented the greatest challenge the sector has ever faced, but the Australian Government is moving beyond responding to the pandemic to drive the transformation of aged care in our nation's history," he said.
Originally published as $1bn aged care boost to fund 10,000 in-home packages