Aged Care Bill gets tick of approval

Aged Care Bill gets tick of approval

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed the news that a parliamentary committee has recommended the adoption of her Private Member’s Bill to require the publication of staffing ratios in aged care facilities.

The Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport released its recommendation last Friday, saying there was a pressing need to increase transparency in the aged care system and the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 was a “first step”.

“My legislation is a pragmatic step forward that will make residential facilities be upfront about their staffing levels,” Rebekha said today.

“Requiring aged care providers to publish their staff-to-resident ratios by job description on the Federal Government’s My Aged Care website will assist people to make more informed choices when they investigate facilities for themselves or their loved ones.

“It is not the only way to increase transparency in this sector, but given that the industry has consistently resisted transparency when it comes to staffing numbers and qualifications, I do believe it will help.

“I have the oldest electorate in South Australia and the sixth oldest in the country so aged care is an important issue for my community, and they are deeply concerned that many facilities do not have enough staff with the right qualifications to care for residents.

“Now I call on the Government to accept the recommendations of the committee, bring my Bill into the Parliament for debate and support the legislation.

“The Royal Commission into aged care services mustn’t put the brakes on urgent reforms in the sector.”

The Standing Committee also recommended a 12-month review of Rebekha's legislation to measure what impact, if any, the additional reporting requirement has had on aged care providers.

The Committee suggested that the Bill incorporate more detailed reporting requirements so consumers could compare the staff ratio of the providers based on the care needs of their residents.

“My Bill does provide scope for aged care facilities to publish short explanations of their ratios and qualifications, to explain why residents need a certain level of care, but I welcome the committee’s suggestion and would be willing to take that on board in any amendment,” Rebekha said.

“I would like to thank everyone in the sector and in my community who took the time to put in public submissions during the committee process.

“The Australian community wants action on staffing in aged care facilities and with my Bill, we have an opportunity to take an important first step.”