The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has labelled the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) decision to establish a working group to propose future roles and responsibilities for aged care as "sensible".
At its 23rd meeting in Perth, COAG directed senior officials to establish a Roles and Responsibilities Working Group in Community Mental Health, Aged Care and Disability Services in order to develop a reform package for consideration at its next meeting. This work will include consultation with local government.
MAV President, Dick Gross said it was pleasing that principles to guide future reforms would be based on client needs and that the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group would consult with local government to develop a reform package for the next COAG meeting.
“Aged care programs are an essential part of the overall health system. Community care is the largest home based program to assist people as they age, and it can significantly reduce demand for public hospital and residential care beds.
“With the proportion of Australians aged over 65 set to grow by 160 per cent by 2021, future reforms to aged care must focus on preventative care options that promote and support healthy ageing," Cr Gross said.
The MAV maintains that the Commonwealth is best placed to drive the aged care reform process to reduce the complexity of aged care services, particularly in community care.
“The Rudd Government has a key role in funding and policy making, as well as setting service benchmarks and program guidelines, standards and performance monitoring.
“However, service planning and resource allocation is best undertaken by the Victorian Government to ensure integrated service delivery continues to focus on healthy ageing models," he said.
“Service coordination, assessment and access can be better dealt with by State and local government. The closer service delivery is to the community, the more responsible and adaptable it is to individual care needs.
“Victoria has an outstanding system of community care, largely as a result of the commitment to the State-local government partnership approach. This includes an extra $160 million being contributed annually, in addition to the agreed Commonwealth-State funding model.
“Following COAG’s agreement to consult with local government, a comprehensive review of the service must also be undertaken to ensure the needs of aged care service recipients will be met and enhanced by any future reforms,” he concluded.
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