Older Australians will have greater choice and control over their aged care services under proposed changes to aged care legislation.

In last year’s Budget, the Australian Government announced significant reforms to strengthen the aged care system to ensure older Australians would receive further support to remain living at home.

As part of the first phase of these home care reforms, from February 2017 funding will follow the consumer not the provider, allowing people to choose the care which suits their individual needs and to then direct funding to that provider.

Minister for Health, Sussan Ley said “with Australians living longer, thanks in part to better health care, the demand on the aged care system is also changing”.

“The changes we are making will allow greater flexibility for the consumer to be able to change a provider if they wish, including when moving to another area to live.

“The reforms also ensure there will be a consistent national approach to prioritising access to aged care services through the My Aged Care gateway.”

The legislative changes, introduced to Parliament today, will see the home care sector move towards a more market-based system, bringing about more innovative services through increased competition.

Assistant Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt, said “Australians want greater choice and control over the care they receive and these proposed changes do exactly that”.

“We will also reduce the amount of red tape for providers, who will no longer have to apply for home care places through the Aged Care Approvals Round.

“As many home care providers are either small businesses or not for profit organisations, it will mean that they can get on with the task at hand, which is helping people.”

The second stage of reforms, expected to start from July 2018, will see the amalgamation of Home Care Packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme into a single care at home programme.

For further information about the aged care reforms, visit: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/ageing-and-aged-care