Meagre aged care funding increase an ‘insult to elderly’
1 July, 2022
A Tasmanian not-for-profit aged care provider has joined growing calls for a review of the aged care funding index, following confirmation that government subsidies to providers will increase by just 1.7 per cent in 2022-23 amid rapidly rising operational costs.
Masonic Care Tasmania cares for more than 300 older Tasmanians across three residential aged care facilities, as well as providing in-home and respite services.
Masonic Care Tasmania Chair Klaus Zimmermann described the meagre funding increase as “an insult to the elderly of this nation”, as providers struggled to meet rising wage and superannuation obligations, compounded by increased cost-of-living expenses with inflation currently at 5.1 per cent.
“Nearly 80 per cent of an operator’s costs are wages and we know that two-thirds of providers are already operating at a loss,” Mr Zimmerman said. “The government is using an outdated and utterly ineffective tool to fund increases in aged care. How is this 1.7 per cent increase supposed fund increases to wages and costs that are more than triple that?
“The one thing the industry needs is long-term sustainable funding to pay for higher wages, employ more staff for direct care, and deal with the mountain of ever-increasing compliance.”
CEO of Masonic Care Tasmania Jackie Howard said staff across the sector were going to great lengths to provide quality care for their clients and deserved better support.
“The considerable attention placed on the aged care sector during the federal election campaign highlighted the need for greater funding to meet the expectations of older Australians and their families,” said Ms Howard, who is a Board Member of the national peak body Aged and Community Care Providers Association.
“We had hoped this would be the catalyst for an appropriate and sustainable funding model for our sector. Instead, we are looking at an ever-widening gap between operational costs and government funding, which will only serve to place even greater pressure on staff and on service delivery.
“There have been many promises made about higher wages and more staff in aged care, but these promises need to be followed through with appropriate financial support.
“As a not-for-profit organisation, Masonic Care Tasmania aims to keep its services affordable and accessible, but – like others in the aged care sector – we need adequate support to deliver these services for our community.”