IMPROVED ACCESS TO AGED CARE
Over the next five years, aged care funding will grow by $5 billion to $23.6 billion.This funding boost will support the Government’s continuing home care expansion which will give senior Australians more certainty, options and independence.
There is $2.5 billion in funding for the Home Care Packages Program this financial year. There has been a record growth in senior Australians receiving home aged care packages. Almost 92,000 are now in home care packages, an annual growth rate of 29 per cent.
We are also providing more than $2.7 billion for Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). CHSP already assists around 800,000 senior Australians per year and our Government is growing the program from January 2019, with an extra $100 million over two years. CHSP assistance is being expanded and includes personal clinical care, mobility, domestic assistance, nursing, nutrition and transport.
ESTABLISHING AN AGED CARE QUALITY AND SAFETY COMMISSION
As more and more senior Australians have access to aged care services, the Morrison government is dedicated to providing senior Australians and their families with confidence and certainty in quality aged care delivery. We will not accept anything but the highest standards of care in residential aged care facilities.
The establishment of the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is part of our Government’s record aged care funding boost, increasing aged care spending by $5 billion over four years. With the motto ‘Engage, Empower and Safeguard’, the Commission flags a new beginning for aged care quality and safety.
For the first time, senior Australians and their loved ones have one place to go when they need help, want to raise a concern, or access information about an aged care service.
In another first, the Commission includes a new Chief Clinical Adviser to oversee quality care delivery across the nation. The Commission will also be empowered by the new aged care Charter of Rights and will implement the new, stronger set of Aged Care Quality Standards, the first upgrade of standards in 20 years.
The Commission has a budget of almost $300 million over four years, with more than $48 million to continue ramping up compliance checks and risk management. For example, unannounced re-accreditation audits of aged care homes will triple in 2019, compared with 2018.
In addition, the Morrison government has announced a Royal Commission into Aged Care Sector. This follows more than 5,000 submissions received from aged care consumers, families, carers, aged care workers, health professionals and providers. The Royal Commission’s interim report is to be provided by 31 October 2019, and its final report no later than 30 April 2020.
STOPPING LABOR’S RETIREE TAX
Labor’s Retiree Tax would hurt retirees and low income earners, by abolishing tax refunds for share dividends. It is a $45 billion tax grab that would punish those who work hard to be self-reliant.
Most people affected are not wealthy. In fact, 84% of people who would be impacted are on taxable incomes below $37,000.
This is unfair and short sighted. It would lead to more people relying on the Age Pension.
The Liberal and Nationals Government will keep tax refunds for franking credits. By carefully managing the economy, we can guarantee essential services and keep taxes low.
Income Support for seniors is increasing by $7 billion – from $46.8 billion in 2018-19 to $53.8 billion in 2021-22. Since the Liberal and Nationals Government was elected in 2013, pensions have increased by $107.90 per fortnight for singles and $162.60 per fortnight for couples.
The Pension Age will remain at 67 and we will also retain the current energy supplement.
As a result of the changes the government made to the assets test, around 165,000 Australians received a higher pension from 1 January 2017. People with fewer assets received more pension due to significant increases in the assets threshold at which the pension starts to reduce. Overall, 90% of pensioners are either better off or have had no change to their pension under these measures.
We have reinstated Pensioner Concession Cards for around 90,000 former part-pension recipients who lost their eligibility when the assets test changes took effect on 1 January 2017, so they can continue to receive the benefits attached to the card.
BETTER HEALTH CARE AND EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS
Federal funding for public hospital services under the Liberal and Nationals Government has increased from $13.3 billion in 2013-14 to a record $22.7 billion in 2020-21 – a 70% increase. This means more hospital services, doctors and nurses.
More Australians are seeing their doctor without having to pay. Over 133 million free GP services were delivered last year – 27.3 million more than in Labor’s last year.
Medicare is now guaranteed in legislation. Our Medicare Guarantee Bill guarantees Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and has established the Medicare Guarantee Fund to ensure their funding.
We have listed over 1,900 new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, benefiting people suffering from conditions such as cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, spinal muscular atrophy and severe asthma.
There are now over half a million people over the age of 65 working. Because of a strong economy, 40,000 of them have found jobs over the last year.
To help encourage employers to hire older workers, we’re expanding access to the Restart Wage Subsidy for Australians over 50. This subsidy provides up to $10,000 to employers to support workers to continue their career.
We’re also removing hindrances to work. This year, we increased the Pension Work Bonus from $250 to $300 per fortnight and extended the Bonus to self-employed people. This will enable more older Australians to earn more income without reducing their pension.