Insights / May 20th, 2024

Welcome Update or Unsatisfactory News? What the 2024 Budget Means for the Aged Care Sector

Responses are split after the Federal Government issues a much-anticipated update to its upcoming plans for the aged care sector. 

This announcement came during the recent release of the Australian Federal Budget (“Budget”) for the 2024-25 financial year, which finalised the implementation date for the long-awaited Aged Care Act 2023, as well as announcing $2.2 billion in funding for the aged care sector.

The new Aged Care Act 2023 is intended to reform the sector significantly and usher in a new era of Australian aged care. In particular, the introduction of the Act will see positive changes, such as the rights of older people being put first.

Originally intended to commence on 1 July 2024, this update will now see the new Aged Care Act not coming into force until 1 July 2025.

This year-long delay has sparked disappointment in many wishing to see positive change in the aged care sector sooner rather than later.

However, others are welcoming the deferral of the new Aged Care Act after concerns were raised that the Act was not ready. In particular, many areas within the Exposure Draft remained undrafted, and its recently closed consultation left little time to properly consider and implement responses.

This delay may be a blessing in disguise as it serves as an opportunity for the Government to get the new Act, and a new era of aged care, right.

The 2024 Budget also announced $2.2 billion in funding for the aged sector. The Budget package includes the following key points:

  • $1.2 billion will be used over five years to help the implementation of the new Aged Care Act;

  • $531.4 million will be used to fund an additional 24,100 Home Care Packages;

  • The Government will continue funding the wage increase for eligible aged care workers, which will be a 23% increase once phased in; and

  • $87.2 million will be used to attract nurses and workers to work in the aged care industry.

Cowell Clarke’s dedicated Aged Care and Retirement Living Team will continue to work closely with its aged care sector clients to ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes whilst ensuring compliance.

For further information please contact our Aged Care, Retirement Living and Health team.

Megan Jongebloed wishes to thank Claudia Van Eckeren for her contribution to this article.

This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only and does not constitute professional legal advice.  You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional legal advice.  No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication and to the extent permitted by law, Cowell Clarke does not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting or refraining to act in relation on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.