Aged Care

Australia’s older population is growing fast which means more older people will need aged care services.

Under National Health Reform, the Australian Government is shifting policy and funding responsibility for aged care services from states and territories to a national approach. This will enable more consistent and coordinated care for older people in their homes and also in aged care settings.

Since 2010, and under the National Health and Hospitals Network, the Australian Government has invested $739 million in aged care, including around 5,000 aged care places or beds.

Through the national aged care package, the Government is:

However, more reforms will be needed to ensure high quality and affordable aged care is accessible for future generations. On 8 August 2011, the Productivity Commission released the Inquiry Report Caring for Older Australians. The Commission’s report will be helpful in informing the way forward.

Achieving a more efficient aged care system is currently also being driven by:

New ‘front end’ for aged care

The implementation of a new single entry to aged care services is linked to other health reforms including Local Hospital Networks and Medicare Locals.

The Government recognises the importance of the implementation of a single entry to the aged care system and has taken the first steps to make it easier for older Australians, their families, and carers to access information about aged care through:
Further reform is necessary and in this context the Government is considering its response to the Productivity Commission’s Final Report, Caring for Older Australians.

The front end reform supports the development of a nationally consistent aged care service via a single central entry point. It aims to offer improved continuity of care for care recipients, their families and carers.
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Aged Care Complaints Scheme

The Australian Government has improved the Aged Care Complaints Scheme’s (the Scheme) capacity to respond to complaints about Australian Government-subsidised aged care.

Reforms to the Scheme include:
The improved Scheme is a result of the Australian Government’s decision to implement recommendations from an independent review of the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme.

The Scheme now resolves concerns using a strengthened complaints framework, underpinned by the Complaints Principles 2011 (the Principles).

This improved framework provides:
Complaints are examined using the Complaints Guidelines. This means the Scheme is able to resolve concerns using one or more approaches including early resolution, service provider resolution, conciliation, mediation and investigation.

HACC Services

Since 1 July 2012, the Commonwealth has funded Commonwealth HACC services in all states and territories, except Western Australia and Victoria. This covers people aged 65 and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 50 and over.

Where the Commonwealth is funding HACC, and someone is unable to resolve their concern with the HACC service provider, they can contact the Scheme. The process for resolving HACC complaints draws on the Scheme’s current approach, which includes greater collaboration and more options for resolving complaints.

Changed Aged Care Commissioner powers

With the introduction of the Living Longer Living Better reforms, the Aged Care Commissioner’s (the Commissioner’s) powers in relation to the Scheme’s complaint outcome decisions were strengthened from 1 August 2013.

Go to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme website to read more about the changed Commissioner’s powers and for other information and resources or to provide feedback. You can also subscribe to the website to receive regular updates.
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Improving the regulation of aged care accommodation bonds

From 1 October 2011, there are clearer and stronger arrangements to protect residents’ savings held in the form of accommodation bonds (bonds). The arrangements clarify the intended purpose for bonds as a source of capital for investment in aged care infrastructure. They also improve governance arrangements for bonds and provide greater transparency and accountability for bonds.

The arrangements:
The arrangements are made through the Aged Care Amendment Act 2011 and the User Rights Amendment Principles 2011 (No.3).

These changes have been developed in close consultation with the aged care industry, consumer groups and the financial services sector.

Information has been prepared to assist approved providers and residents in understanding the new arrangements.
This information is available on the Department’s website at Protecting Residents’ Savings – arrangements for accommodation bonds.

Building a skilled aged care workforce

The Australian Government recognises highly trained and qualified staff is essential to delivering quality aged care.

Aged Care Workforce Fund

The Aged Care Workforce Fund provides over $302 million to support the aged care workforce and build the capacity and skills of the aged care sector to improve quality of care.

Aged Care Education and Training Incentive Program

The Aged Care Education and Training Incentive Program provides incentive payments to eligible aged care workers who undertake specified education and training programs. This program builds on current workplace training programs that support people working in the aged care sector by providing financial assistance to existing aged care workers who undertake further studies to upgrade their qualifications and build their career in aged care. Further information on the ACETI program, including a copy of the guidelines and applications forms, are available on the website or can be requested by emailing

National Health Reform Progress and Delivery

View the National Health Reform Progress and Delivery report.

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Page last updated 01 August, 2013