Public to have say on Aged Care Bill

Public to have say on Aged Care Bill

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed the Government’s decision to refer her Private Member’s Bill on publishing staff ratios in aged care facilities to a Parliamentary Inquiry.

Rebekha’s Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 aims to provide greater transparency for families moving loved ones into residential care by making providers publish staff-to-resident ratios by job description on the Federal Government’s My Aged Care website.

The legislation was introduced at the first opportunity after her by-election win and this week the Select Committee announced that the Bill would be investigated by and reported on the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport. 

Individuals and groups have until Thursday, 4 October 2018, to make submissions.

“My legislation is an important first step in addressing community concerns about staffing ratios in our nursing homes,” Rebekha said.

“I have the oldest electorate in South Australia and the eighth 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.

“I note that the Government has this week announced the establishment of an aged-care quality and safety commission and extra funds to investigate aged care facilities that don’t meet standards but it is still not enough.

“The Government and the aged care sector are reluctant to set a minimum staffing level in case it sets the bar too low to meet the quality of care standards.

“We have ratios in child care centres so I’m not convinced by that argument.

“I believe my Bill is a pragmatic step forward that will make residential facilities be upfront about their staffing.”

This week Rebekha met with the Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt and the Opposition Spokesperson for Aged Care Julie Collins to discuss her Bill.

“I received a good hearing from the Minister and the Shadow Minister regarding my legislation,” Rebekha said.

“We all believe transparency is the way forward and we will use the inquiry process to look at the Bill in detail.”

The public can make submissions to the inquiry. Details are here.

The deadline for submission is Thursday, 4 October 2018.

You can listen to Rebekha's speech in Parliament here and read the full text of the Private Member’s Bill here.