The 2008-09 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 tabled in Parliament today shows that the Rudd Government is delivering more funding for more aged care services to more older Australians.

Minister Elliot said: The report confirms the Rudd Government's ongoing commitment to increasing access to quality aged care services for older Australians where and when they need them.

Australia has one of the longest life expectancies in the world and the Rudd Government is responding to the challenges of an ageing population, Minister Elliot said.

Over the past year, more residential care places became operational, community care services have grown and more services are on the way. As at 30 June 2009, the number of residential, community and transition care places operating in Australia increased to 228,038.

Better access to services

The report outlines that over the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009:

  • 10,447 new aged care places were allocated;
  • 211,345 people received permanent residential aged care in one of Australia's 2,783 aged care homes;
  • 41,873 people received short-term respite care at these facilities;
  • 64,111 older Australians received a community care package; and
  • 12,635 people received transition care through 2,228 transition care places following a hospital stay.

Improved quality and greater accountability

The Rudd Government's efforts to improve quality and accountability by strengthening police check requirements for all staff and introducing reporting requirements for residents who have gone missing without explanation has improved protections for residents.

The report outlines that over the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009:

  • The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency conducted 7,595 visits to aged care homes, with each home receiving at least one unannounced visit during the year;
  • The Agency identified 303 homes as being non-compliant with one or more of the 44 expected outcomes. Homes found to be non-compliant with the Accreditation Standards were placed on a timetable for improvement to correct the non-compliance;
  • The Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme undertook 3,151 visits to homes, 1,847 of which were unannounced;
  • The Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme received 12,573 contacts during the reporting period. Nearly two-thirds of the contacts (7,962) related to concerns that aged care service providers were not meeting their responsibilities under the Act. The remaining calls were dealt with through the provision of information or referred to other relevant authorities;
  • The most common issues raised with the complaints scheme related to health and personal care (4,117 cases), alleged abuse (2,034 cases, which includes allegations of a Reportable Assault), consultation and communication (1,628 cases), personnel (1,471 cases), and physical environment (1,386 cases);
  • There were 1,411 notifications of alleged reportable assaults which included 1,121 allegations of unreasonable use of force and 272 allegations of unlawful sexual contact and 18 related to both (Police are responsible for determining whether criminal charges should be laid and the Department investigates whether the provider has met their responsibilities under the Aged Care Act); and
  • The Department issued 163 Notices of Non-Compliance and 30 Notices of Decision to Impose Sanctions.

As part of its commitment to greater transparency and providing more information to consumers of aged care services and their relatives, the Rudd Government increased the information available on individual homes through the Aged Care Australia website from 1 July this year by publishing the details of sanctions and notices of non-compliance. This additional information is helping older Australians and their families make more informed choices about their options for residential care.

Increased funding and continued investment

The report outlines that over the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009:

  • $9.1 billion was spent on ageing and aged care - an increase of 9.1 per cent;
  • $6.5 billion was spent on residential aged care - an increase of 7.8 per cent;
  • $479.7 million was spent on Community Aged Care Packages - an increase of 7.1 per cent;
  • $256.3 million was spent on Extended Aged Care at Home packages, including tailored dementia packages - an increase of 28.9 per cent;
  • $1.094 billion was provided for the joint Commonwealth, state and territory Home and Community Care Program - an increase of 8.1 per cent; and
  • Almost one in four residential aged care facilities undertook new building work, refurbishments or upgrades during the year, investing $3 billion in construction activity.

The Rudd Government will continue to provide an aged care system that offers more services with strong accountabilities to continue to improve standards of care.

Like the Rudd Government, aged care service providers and their staff are committed to providing high quality care. We all have the health, safety and well being of older Australians as our number one priority and we will continue to deliver world class care services that meet the needs of our ageing population.

Further information on aged care services can be obtained from the Aged Care Information Line on 1800 500 853 or through the Aged Care Australia website located at

Anyone with concerns about the care or welfare of residents should immediately contact the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme - 1800 550 552.