2018/19 Budget: aged care and disability initiatives
Quality and access to long term care are a major cause for concern. Things are not going well for the Commonwealth. There are currently separate Royal Commissions into aged care and disability services.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is significantly underspent. Price caps for services like therapy and personal care are too low and nearly a third of services are operating at a loss. The underspend would have been more if there hadn’t been a last-minute decision to significantly increase service caps at a cost of $850 million in the 2018/19 budget. The NDIS is struggling with the huge task of putting the new scheme in place.
There are major concerns about the level of funding for aged care. Currently, there are 130,000 older people waiting for Home Care Packages - often for a year or more. Nearly half of residential care services are losing money and there are major concerns about quality of care. The short-term budget fix is to give residential care $320 million to try to prevent services going under. There will be 10,000 additional home care packages at a cost of $282 million – but that still leaves more than 100,000 people waiting.