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Minister for Age Well, Anika Wells, has also announced that the government is now considering feedback before it finalises its draft legislation.

“This is the best news we’ve had on this front for months,” RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon said.

“Genuine consultation on the Bill was a challenge from the outset and while the extended timeframe to provide submissions was welcomed, key sections of the legislation are yet to be drafted.

“Additionally, the delay in the release of the recommendations of the Age Well Taskforce prevented a meaningful understanding of the holistic intentions for the future funding and provision of aged care services in Australia, which has flow-on impacts to the retirement living sector.

“This has since been addressed with the recent release of the Taskforce’s recommendations.

“For these reasons, deferring the commencement date for the new Act is an obvious and welcome development to ensure we get it right. Frankly, it’s too important to get wrong,” he said.

Mr Gannon said that retirement living operators fundamentally support the government’s commitment to reforming the aged care sector to ensure older people who access government-funded aged care services are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

“We welcome the renewed consumer focus in the provision of care, and the objectives to enable individual choice, sustainable funding arrangements, and to promote innovation in the aged care system, as referenced in the Bill,” Mr Gannon said.

“The aged care system is failing to keep up with current demand, let alone the ‘silver tsunami’ that we know is coming.

“Australia is experiencing a dramatic demographic shift, propelled by an ageing population. Over the course of the next decade and a half, the number of people aged over 75 is expected to increase by 70 per cent, with this cohort increasing from 2 million to 3.4 million.

“These changes will have far-reaching implications and to meet what will be significantly increased demand for aged care services, any reforms must facilitate new and innovative models for the provision of care, not impede them,” he said.

The RLC’s eight key recommendations from its 8 March 2024 submission can be accessed here.