Leading Victorian aged care provider Benetas welcomes the announcement for aged care reform released today by Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, saying that the significant investment of $3.7 billion demonstrates respect for older people and their carers.

Benetas CEO, Sandra Hills, says she supports the government’s response to the Productivity Commission recommendations and the Living Longer and Living Better plan. “The announcements of reform present more control and choice for consumers and a much more sustainable industry,” Ms Hills said.

"The additional $268.4million for dementia is a fantastic result for the entire Australian community. It is particularly important for these funds to be allocated to people who have high care needs, especially people with dementia in palliative care.

The $80.2million investment to improve aged care linkages within the health care system will help ensure people who need access to acute health services can access this support. This is critical to the success of the aged care system.

Benetas is launching a new dementia service in the coming months, which is in direct response to a demand from the community for additional supports in a home environment. The program focuses on providing carers with the tools to continue to support to their loved one with dementia to stay at home – which is exactly what they tell us they want.

“Benetas was extremely pleased with not only the additional funding announced today, but also the increased number of Home Care packages. The ultimate goal is to provide a system where people can choose the type of support that best suits them and then move around the system as they please, so this is a step in the right direction,” Ms Hills said.

“The $1.2 billion investment in the aged care workforce is long overdue and highlights the respect our Government holds for the thousands of committed, dedicated and caring staff who work in the aged care sector with passion and pride every day.”

Ms Hills also called for more emphasis to be put on new and innovative services. “The move towards more community support is fantastic; however as providers we need the Government’s support so we can explore how to meet the changing needs of our clients in the future. To do this well it is essential to look at researching and piloting new and innovative models of service delivery, and we need funds to be able to do that,” Ms Hills said.

The Government’s response to the funding of aged care has not come as a surprise to Benetas. “We knew that the payment system needed to change for Australians. It simply wasn’t viable, so we are fully supportive of the user pays system. The  government has acknowledged the very real need  to provide safeguards for people who are disadvantaged, so anyone requiring care and support receives it, regardless of their circumstances. This will be hard work, but it is vital to support our most vulnerable community members,” Ms Hills said.

Ms Hills said she fully welcomed the Government’s response to the negative perceptions of ageing and aged care and the announcement of the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing earlier this week.

“Currently the perception of ageing and aged care in the community is very negative, with our ageing population seen as a liability. Benetas was surprised that there was no mention of positive ageing by the Productivity Commission initially, so we congratulate Prime Minister Julia Gillard on her comments today around needing to embrace our ageing community and place more value on what they can offer our society. We have a lot of work to do to change this perception, and we need to ensure we put words into action,” Ms Hills said.

“The package today is a good start towards fixing our aged care system, but what we need is the investment and reforms to occur quickly, and in the next five years. To make this happen, we need the political will and commitment of our leaders to continue down this path of true reform to ensure Australia can provide world class aged care services for our ageing community now and into the future,” Ms Hills said.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Sandra Hills, CEO Benetas, please contact: 
Cassie Wells
Mob: 0400 224 852