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New federal government changes to fix aged care – Human Rights

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Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells introduced two aged care Bills
into the House of Representatives on the first sitting of
Parliament since the election on Wednesday. The Minister stated
that “the government is committed to improving
transparency, integrity, and accountability in aged
care.”

The two Bills address the recommendations made by the Royal
Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal
Commission
) and Labor’s election policies on the
sector. The two bills are expected to rapidly pass through
Parliament having already passed through the House of
Representatives.

The former Morrison Government only adopted nine of the 148
recommendations of the Royal Commission and ignored the Royal
Commission’s recommendation that nursing homes should have a
registered nurse (RN) on site 24/7.

The Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022
(Care Reform Bill), will require that a RN be
on-site at all aged care homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Care Reform Bill will also improve transparency related to
costs in the sector. The Government will be able to cap
administration and management fees on home care packages and aged
care providers will be required to publish financial figures.

These changes will gradually be implemented over the next twelve
months with the changes coming into effect on 1 December 2022, 1
January 2023 and 1 July 2023. Additionally, while there is a
requirement that a RN be on site 24/7, there will be some
exemptions to the nursing requirements. It is important for
providers in the sector to seek legal advice before the changes
come into effect to ensure compliance with the new legislative
requirements.

The Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission
Response) Bill 2022 (Royal Commission Response
Bill
) will implement further recommendations of the Royal
Commission. Key changes include:

  • Introducing a Code of Conduct that will apply to approved
    providers and their aged care workers and governing persons;

  • Extending the Serious Incident Response Scheme and
    Incident Management System requirements that apply in
    residential care to home care;

  • Implementing a new residential care funding model;

  • Introducing an independent pricing authority;

  • Requiring the Secretary of the Department to publish
    information regarding the quality of care and performance of each
    age care provider; and

  • Enabling greater information sharing between Commonwealth
    bodies in relation to aged care workers and providers.

In addition to these changes, the Fair Work Commission’s
aged care work value case has received submissions from Unions
where they have called for a 25 per cent pay rise for aged care
workers. These changes would be an increase of approximately $5 per
hour. While the Federal Government has not yet confirmed whether
they would support a 25 per cent pay rise, they have committed to
funding the increase awarded in the case.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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