Ser­vices to get new over­sight

Benalla Ensign - - Communityvoice -

Aged care will be po­liced by a tough new cop from 2020 as the Fed­eral Govern­ment moves to crack down on shock­ing cases of ne­glect and abuse in the sec­tor.

Leg­is­la­tion cleared the Se­nate on Mon­day to es­tab­lish the Aged Care Quality and Safety Com­mis­sion, which will reg­u­late res­i­den­tial aged-care ser­vices, home-care ser­vices, flex­i­ble­care ser­vices and pub­licly funded aged-care ser­vices.

The bill will now re­turn to the lower house to tick off amend­ments, such as giv­ing the com­mis­sioner pow­ers to make in­for­ma­tion pub­lic about aged-care ser­vices.

The com­mis­sion will reg­u­late provider ap­provals, quality and pru­den­tial com­pli­ance, and com­pul­sory re­port­ing from the Health Depart­ment.

For­mer act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s Depart­ment of Health, Janet An­der­son, will head up the new reg­u­la­tor.

Greens se­na­tor Rachel Siew­ert said she was pleased the govern­ment had changed the bill af­ter she raised is­sues through a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee.

But she re­mained con­cerned there was no reference to hu­man rights in the leg­is­la­tion.

Un­der the amended bill, the com­mis­sioner will have to ap­point a chief clin­i­cal ad­vi­sor to help the agency.

She will also be able to make in­for­ma­tion about com­mon­wealth-funded aged care ser­vices pub­lic, but the Greens failed in a bid for that to in­clude staffing ra­tios.

‘‘We know that staffing is a huge is­sue in the aged-care sec­tor and fam­i­lies and older Aus­tralians should be able to see what is on of­fer from providers and the skills and train­ing they have,’’ Se­na­tor Siew­ert said.

Govern­ment min­is­ter Zed Se­selja said the new com­mis­sion would be the sin­gle point of con­tact for con­sumers and providers.

‘‘The Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion is age­ing. Se­nior Aus­tralians and their loved ones de­serve con­fi­dence that they... are be­ing prop­erly cared for,’’ he told par­lia­ment.

La­bor sup­ported the bill, but crit­i­cised the govern­ment for hav­ing 121 000 peo­ple on the wait­ing list for home-care pack­ages.

The agency is in ad­di­tion to a re­cently an­nounced royal com­mis­sion into the sec­tor.

The Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion is age­ing. Se­nior Aus­tralians and their loved ones de­serve con­fi­dence that they and their loved ones are be­ing prop­erly cared for.

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