The Federal Government has granted a six month extension to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and appointed an additional Commissioner.
The Hon Gaetano Tony Pagone QC has been appointed Commissioner. He joins Commissioner Richard Tracey AM RFD QC and Commissioner Lynelle Briggs.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck said the government has aged care front and centre of its agenda as one of its key priorities.
“We have committed to invest over $90 billion into the sector over the next four years to enable senior Australians to remain in their homes for longer, support their choices, have their needs better understood and improve their quality of life,” Senator Colbeck said.
“It is important that our aged care sector continues to provide high quality care and that we understand where we can make improvements. The Government has continued to implement reforms while the Commission progresses, as we said we would, including the commencement of new Aged Care Quality Standards and Charter of Aged Care Rights and strengthened provisions around the use of restraints.”
Industry calls for urgent action
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) CEO Sean Rooney said the extra time will allow for a deeper investigation of the many complex issues in aged care and their solutions.
However, there are a number of critical issues facing the sector that must be addressed now.
“The aged care sector fully supports the Royal Commission’s hearings, roundtable discussions and consultation around the country,” Rooney said.
“This is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to make the aged care system better for all older Australians, now and into the future, and we must get it right.
”However, we cannot delay action on making the aged care system better right now, by addressing the key issues of access to services, funding of services, quality of services and supporting the workforce that delivers these services.
“Urgent action – before Christmas this year – is required to avert the increasing risk of service failures, job losses and missed care while the Royal Commission considers longer term reforms.
“The sector seeks to work with Government as a matter of urgency so we can ensure the delivery of high standards of care and services.
“We all want a safe, high quality and high performing aged care system. Older Australians need it and older Australians deserve nothing less.”
The Royal Commission opened in January this year with a preliminary hearing in Adelaide where Commissioner Richard Tracey AM RFD QC and Commissioner Lynelle Briggs outlined the targets of the investigation.
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