Sustainability of the Aged Care Sector: Discussion Paper

This Discussion Paper aims to support and promote an informed national policy debate on the sustainability of publicly subsidised aged care services in Australia.

A sustainable aged care system is crucial to current and future senior Australians and their families. Equally, it is of fundamental importance to taxpayers, providers and the sector’s workforce. Sustainability has several dimensions. The four addressed in this Paper are: taxpayer affordability; community satisfaction with the care provided; workforce availability; and provider viability.

The current aged care system has been under stress for some time and the situation is worsening. Demand-side pressures are arising from demographic and health changes in Australia’s ageing population and from community expectations for safer and higher quality care.

This Paper provides evidence of the need for a broad-ranging discussion on the sustainability of subsidising aged care services. The Paper also offers a number of strategic approaches to addressing these issues, while emphasising that multiple interconnected strategies will be needed to improve sustainability. The matters raised in the Paper deserve considered debate by all who want our senior Australians in need to receive safe, high quality services from viable and responsive providers and skilled staff at a cost that they and Australian taxpayers can afford.