About the new Aged Care Act - Afea Care Services
March 5th 2024

The Department of Health and Aged Care is developing a new Aged Care Act, with commencement aimed from 1 July 2024.

The new Act will be introduced to Parliament this year and will put the rights of older Australians at the centre of the aged care system.

This is following consultations with various groups, including:

The draft of the new Act (called the exposure draft) was made available to the public in December 2023. You can read the draft now or continue reading our summary to see the changes the new Act will introduce.

Why do we need a new Act?

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found that the Aged Care Act needs to be structured around the diverse needs of older people, rather than focus on providers.

The department designed the new Act to respond to the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

Currently, many aged care laws govern aged care. The new Aged Care Act will replace the following:

Passage of the new Act will also support the new home care program commencing in 2025. We have written about this previously, including the changes implemented in 2023:

Home Care Package vs CHSP – Afea Care Services

2023-24 Budget: NDIS and Aged Care – Afea Care Services

Updates to 2023-24 Home Care Package Pricing – Afea Care Services

What’s changing with the new Aged Care Act?

The new Act will:

Create a simple, single-entry point to make access to the aged care system for older people easier.

Under the existing Act, there are multiple assessment frameworks and different assessors for each program. The new Act will streamline this process.

Include a fair, culturally safe single assessment process.

Include rules on supported decision-making to ensure older people have choice and control.

The rules will ensure older Australians can maintain the choice and control over their own life.

The new Act will provide for the appointment of two types of nominees, i.e. supporters and representatives.

Representatives will be able to make decisions on behalf of the person receiving aged care, as long they abide by a number of duties and decision-making principles consistent with a supported decision-making model.

Supporters will not be able to make decisions, however will be able to receive information in relation to the person receiving aged care and will be recognised as an essential support to that person in making decisions about their life.

Provide additional protections for whistle-blowers to allow reporting without fear of reprisal.

Introduce a new approach to regulating aged care providers to ensure delivery of safe, quality aged care services.

Universal registration is proposed to replace the current ‘Approved Provider’ arrangements under the existing Act.

Under the new Act, all providers delivering funded aged care services will need to be registered into one or more registration categories.

This requirement will cover all services delivered in:

  • residential aged care
  • Home Care Package Program (HCP)
  • Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)
  • Multi-Purpose Services (MPS)
  • the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP) 2
  • Transition Care Program (TCP)
  • Short-Term Restorative Care Program
  • Innovative Care Program.

Strengthen the powers of the regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, to manage risk, ensure integrity and support aged care.

We will continue to update you as the new legislation progresses through Parliament.

Sources:

The new Aged Care Act – What’s new? What’s different? (health.gov.au)

A new model for regulating aged care and new Aged Care Act – Frequently Asked Questions (health.gov.au)

About the new Aged Care Act | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Looking for a Home Care Package provider?

Afea is an approved Home Care Package provider.

We always say there is no substitute for experience. Afea has been operating for 15 years in the industry. Our compassionate Afea Carers will help you maintain your independence in your own home, and you will have ongoing support from a dedicated Care Manager. Contact us now and we’ll develop a care plan designed just for you.

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