The allocation of almost $18 billion towards aged care in the 2021-22 Federal Budget is a “solid” first step towards delivering the seismic shift required to ensure Australians get the care they need, particularly in their own homes, said Silver Chain CEO Ms Dale Fisher.

“This aged care budget demonstrates the Federal Government recognises the need to focus more on aged care in the home. Providing 80,000 more home care packages will be very much welcomed by people who are languishing on the wait list.

“But it’s been evident for a long time that the home care package system needs to be overhauled. I’m encouraged by the Government’s commitment to create a new single in-home care program that will provide a higher level of care to more Australians. Older Australians need more than just help with basic domestic support. Older Australians have earned the right and choice to stay at home and receive complex care in the comfort of their homes.”

“A greater focus on home care is about meeting the care preferences of older Australians and providing them with greater control over their lives. Study after study has shown us that receiving quality care in our own homes benefits the individual and has macro-economic benefits with demonstrable community health and wellbeing outcomes. Our own research demonstrates that 75 per cent of Australians are somewhat or very likely to use in-home care for themselves or a loved one.”

Ms Fisher said the workforce initiatives in the budget including training for 13,000 new home care workers, will help build the capacity and capability of the workforce which was in “desperate need of a boost”.

“While it will take some time to realise sustainable community benefits, the workforce initiatives detailed in the Budget will help deliver an improved staff training system.

“I am hopeful that initiatives such as a new National Aged Care Advisory Council, a new Aged Care Act and a Council of Elders, as well as initiatives to improve services in regional and remote areas, will all go towards ensuring that reforms in the aged care sector go beyond any stop-gap measures and create more equitable outcomes for all Australians.

“With Silver Chain Group being Australia’s only not-for-profit provider that is solely focused on home care, we welcome this budget as a turning point for home care in Australia - our citizens have earned the right to stay at home if they so choose. The future of care in this country is in the home.”