Federal Parliament has passed critical legislation on the long journey of aged care reform in line with Royal Commission recommendations.
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
The first day of the new 47th Federal Parliament last week heralded the introduction of the second and third tranche of laws adopting recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Care Quality and Safety.
And there has been decisive action this week with the passing of the proposed reforms through both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday (2 August 2022). Once the Governor-General gives royal assent, the reforms will become law within 28 days.
A short history behind the reforms
Nine recommendations were acted on through legislation passed in June 2021 by the 26th Federal Parliament led by the Coalition Government.
More than 12 months later, under the new Labor Government, a further 19 recommendations have been passed by Federal Parliament this week.
The reforms largely mirror those put forward by the former Coalition Government in its second reform Bill introduced to Parliament in September 2021. Though, this legislation was not passed.
It was delayed as:
the Senate sought an amendment requiring the presence of a nurse 24/7 in all residential care homes;
the Coalition Government argued this was not realistic at present as there were not enough nurses;
and then all new legislation came to a halt with the calling of the May 2022 Federal Election.
Repeated finger pointing took place in Parliament last week with the Opposition (Coalition) accusing the Government (Labor) of delaying this legislation and using it as an election pawn and the Government (Labor) arguing lack of reform commitment on the part of the Coalition - tabling 23 reports calling for aged care reform in the past decade.
Speaking from the frontline of the sector, I’ll make the single comment.
The Royal Commission’s reforms were introduced on 21 March 2021 and, as of today, 28 of the 148 recommendations have been legislated. We still have 120 recommendations to go!
As Senator Rice (Greens) stated in Parliament last week, this legislation is an “interim measures in the context of further legislation …. before the required full rewrite of The Aged Care Act.”
To the repeated statements from both sides of politics on their “strong commitment to delivering security, dignity, quality and humanity for every older Australian” and being “absolutely committed to supporting the health, the safety and the wellbeing of older Australians” – please just get on with it!
Look out for my next blog which outlines the Royal Commission recommendations addressed by Parliament last week.
Seeking care for a loved one? Please feel free to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.
 Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 – introduced 27 July 2022
 Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022 – introduced 27 July 2022
 DR Care Solutions: Royal Commission Into Aged Care Quality and Safety: Final Report
 DR Care Solutions: Royal Commission Into Aged Care Quality and Safety: Top Recommendations
 Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendments (Royal Commission Response No.1) Act 2021 - passed 25 June 2021
 Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendments (Royal Commission Response No.2) Bill
 Commonwealth of Australia: Hansard, page 6