Good Budget News for Aged Care

The good news is that this year's Budget did not increase how much we pay for the aged care services that we access. But an additional $17.7 billion spend – which will be fully paid for by the Government - was aimed at increasing access and improving quality. This article takes a quick look at the Budget implications for aged care.

With an ageing population and baby boomers heading towards care years, aged care featured as a centrepiece of the 2021-22 Federal Budget handed down by Government on 11 May. The Government outlined a 5-year aged care reform plan, at a cost of $17.7 billion across all areas of aged care including home care, residential care, workforce and governance.

The proposed reforms are aimed at restoring consumer confidence and increasing the quality of care, with the Government accepting and putting into action most of the Royal Commission's 148 recommendations.

What changes were announced

Key changes proposed include a new Aged Care Act placing the older person at the centre and more transparent and independent governance structures, so we can work towards the Royal Commission directive of “care, dignity and respect.”

A number of measures also focus on training and attracting quality staff into aged care, with a particular focus on upskilling staff to support people living with dementia.

Other measures

Retirees may also benefit in the future from other changes proposed in the Budget which included:

· Removing the $450 per month threshold for superannuation guarantee, to increase the number of eligible employees

· Removing the work test for non-concessional superannuation contributions over age 65, to help boost superannuation savings

· Reducing the age limit for downsizer contributions (if selling an eligible home) to 60.

· Allowing limited lump sums to be accessed under the Pension Loan Scheme, which may help with funding home modifications or renovations to stay safely in the home or prepare it for sale if moving

· A two-year window of opportunity to unwind some legacy income stream products without penalty.

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