12 May 2021

Media release

Australia’s only medical research institute focussed exclusively on ageing has commended the Government’s historic $17.7 billion investment in aged care announced in the 2021 Federal Budget.

The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has in particular welcomed $7.5 billion to improve homecare, $698.3 million to improve governance across the aged care system, and $942 million to drive systemic improvements to residential aged care quality and safety.

NARI Director Professor Briony Dow said the investment, made in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, would provide the impetus for systemic reforms of aged care, but these must be guided by the needs of older people and underpinned by research.

“NARI is particularly pleased to note the development of a consumer-focused Aged Care Act, informed by consultation with older Australians including members of a new Council of Elders and National Aged Care Advisory Council,” said Professor Dow.

“NARI also welcomes the $229.4 million allocated in the budget to dementia. This will significantly improve early support for people living with dementia and their families, provide support at diagnosis, and dementia training throughout the aged care sector.

“Recognition of dementia care being core business for aged care is an important step towards greater equity of access to quality care for people with dementia,” she said.

In addition, NARI welcomes benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians including funding for access to aged care services and the strengthening of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.

A Royal Commission recommendation was for funding for research into the delivery of aged care, including through co-funding arrangements with industry and aged care providers, and through workforce-related research and technology.

“Changes in aged care delivery must be underpinned with evidence, so there is a real need for the type of research undertaken by NARI to support aged care reform,” said Professor Dow. “Our research for the Royal Commission on consumer perspectives of care is an example of research evidence leading reforms.”

“Nation-wide training must also be consistent and reflect current evidence,” said Professor Dow. “Our long-standing research into many of the health, social and clinical conditions which effect older people puts us in the position to develop training curriculum for the aged care workforce.”

Professor Dow said NARI congratulates the Government on its strong investment in aged care and looks forward to working with them and the aged care sector to contribute to this outstanding opportunity to improve the aged care system.

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