Rural Councils Victoria is calling on all Victorian candidates in the upcoming federal election to commit to solving a looming aged care crisis across rural and regional Victoria.
Rural Councils Victoria Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“The Royal Commission into Aged Care heard that rural Victoria is expecting a surge of 130 per cent in demand for aged care packages by 2031 and that we will need an extra 3,600 aged-care beds.
“Candidates for the upcoming federal election can help avert this looming crisis by committing to:
“Rural areas have older populations, so meeting the growing demand for aged-care services and accommodation is vital to community welfare and viability.
“The current pricing model of Home Care in rural areas lacks viability as potential providers face reduced financial returns from the consumer-choice model of Home Care.
“The model does not take into account the high travel time and costs involved in rural and remote home-based delivery.
“Rural Councils Victoria proposes that the incoming Government change the in-home and residential care pricing models to meet the expected increase in demand for services arising from an ageing population.
“Much of the rural Victoria’s existing residential care rural infrastructure is reaching its end of life.
“Most of the rural residential care housing stock was built under a Commonwealth subsidy program which ended in 1986.
“From 1954 to 1986 the Commonwealth subsidised non-profit organisations for up to 50 per cent of capital cost of older persons housing under the former Aged Persons Homes Act.
“We call on the incoming Government to revive this scheme, as well as the introduction of a capital matching program that would incentivise not-for-profit agencies to invest in the construction of accommodation for older persons, including residential aged care facilities.