The Department of Health and Aged Care (the department) is developing a new Aged Care Act. The new Act will put older Australians at the centre of our aged care system.
Why do we need a new Aged Care Act?
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that a completely new Aged Care Act be developed because the current Aged Care Act 1997 is no longer fit for purpose. The new Act will give a framework for the important changes being made in the aged care sector. The new Act is being drafted alongside a range of reforms across the sector. This includes the development of strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards and a new model for regulating aged care.
When will the new Act start?
Subject to being passed in Parliament, the new Act is planned to start on 1 July 2024. It will replace existing legislation, including the current Aged Care Act and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018.
Has the new Act been finalised?
The new Act is still being developed. The department has been working with key stakeholders on parts of the new Act. They have also asked for feedback and input from the public on the foundations of the new Act. The department plans to release an Exposure Draft of the Bill for the new Act for public consultation later in 2023. This will be available on the department’s Aged Care Engagement Hub.
What are the key differences between the new Act and the existing Act?
The Royal Commission found that the current Aged Care Act is structured around providers and how to fund them – not about the people accessing services and what they need. The new Act will follow the journey of older people in the system and prioritise their needs. It will clearly set out the responsibilities of aged care providers and protect the rights of older Australians to safe, quality care.
The new Act will:
- put older Australians at the heart of the aged care system
- outline the rights of older Australians who are receiving funded aged care services
- have a single way to enter the system with clear eligibility requirements to make it easier for people to use and access the system
- include a fair, culturally safe, single assessment framework
- set up new system oversight and accountability arrangements
- introduce a new risk-based regulatory model that increases provider accountability and encourages them to deliver high-quality and safe aged care services
- strengthen the enforcement powers of the Commission.
More information is available on the department’s website: