Aged Care Bill to be top of new Parliament agenda

Aged Care Bill to be top of new Parliament agenda

If re-elected, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie will reintroduce her Private Member’s Bill to require the publication of staffing ratios in aged care facilities.

“Aged care is such an important issue in our electorate so if I am fortunate enough to secure the support of my community I will make this legislation one of first items on the agenda of the 46th Parliament,” Rebekha said.

“I have the oldest electorate in South Australia and the sixth oldest in the country and the message is clear, people are deeply concerned that many facilities do not have enough staff with the right qualifications to care for residents.

“My Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 secured the approval of the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport and the Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt who voiced his support in a letter to the Prime Minister in February this year.

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

“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.”

In response to suggestions from the Standing Committee, Rebekha will adopt two minor changes to her legislation, namely;

  • Allowing consumers to compare aged care providers based on the level of care needed by their residents. The sector already has four recognised levels of care based on the physical and mental needs of clients which can be used as four categories.
  • Providing for a comprehensive review within 12-months of implementation of the legislation in order to determine whether there should be further reporting on staff number differences during the day, night and over the weekend.

“My legislation is not a panacea for the issues besetting residential aged care but it is a sensible measure that can be implemented without waiting some time for the outcome of the Royal Commission into Age Care,” Rebekha said.