Overview of reforms
The Australian Government is introducing a range of practical measures to improve accountability and transparency in the aged care sector.
The Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Act 2022 establishes new requirements for aged care providers and expands the role, powers and functions of the Commission.
It implements 9 measures and responds to 17 recommendations from the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The Explanatory Memorandum to the Act provides a useful summary of the new requirements for approved providers.
We have developed the following fact sheets about the reforms:
- Aged care reforms – an overview: Sets out each of the reform measures and what it means for approved providers and services.
- Aged care reforms – a regulatory perspective: Provides an overview of key aged care reforms to help you prepare your service to meet new regulatory obligations.
Of the 9 measures implemented under the Act, 4 are directly relevant to the regulation of aged care.
Aged care 24/7 registered nurse requirement from 1 July 2023
The Department of Health and Aged Care has released an exposure draft and explanatory statement for the subordinate legislation for reporting about and applying for exemptions from the 24/7 registered nurses (RNs) responsibility in residential aged care that commences from 1 July 2023.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified that staffing levels are critical to the quality of residential care, and recommended at least one RN be on-site per residential facility at all times. See recommendation 86 of the final report for more information.
From 1 July 2023, approved providers must have at least one RN on-site and on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at each residential facility.
For more Information on our regulatory role visit the Aged care 24/7 registered nurse cover and care minutes page.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has released a Care minutes and 24/7 registered nurse requirements guide. It provides information about care minutes targets and definitions, the 24/7 RN responsibility from 1 July 2023, and mandatory care minutes responsibilities from 1 October 2023.
Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) expansion into home services
From 1 December 2022, the SIRS extends from residential aged care to home care and flexible care delivered in a home or community setting.
This includes providers of Home Care Package, Short-Term Restorative Care at home, Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFAC), Multi-Purpose Services Program and Transition Care Program services.
The Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Incident Management and Reporting) Instrument 2022 has now been registered. This legislative instrument includes details about how the SIRS will apply to home services.
SIRS guidelines for home services providers
The Commission has published guidelines on SIRS for home services providers.
My Aged Care SIRS user guide for home services providers
Aged care providers notify the Commission of SIRS reportable incidents through the My Aged Care Service and Support portal. A user guide for home services providers and staff, ‘How to access and use the Service and Support Portal for Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS): In-Home Care’, is available on the department’s website.
As more information becomes available, we will continue to update our SIRS webpage.
Code of Conduct for Aged Care
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Amendment (Code of Conduct and Banning Orders) Rules 2022 detail the 8 elements of the Code and what it means for approved providers of aged care, their governing persons and aged care workers.
To assist approved providers to understand their obligations under the Code we have published a comprehensive Code of Conduct for Aged Care: Guidance for providers.
The Code of Conduct for Aged Care: Guidance for aged care workers and governing persons will assist workers and governing persons to understand how they must behave and treat people receiving aged care services.
Strengthening provider governance
The reforms will introduce new governance responsibilities for approved providers, including requirements regarding:
- membership of governing bodies
- the establishment of new consumer and clinical advisory bodies
- measures to improve leadership and culture.
To assist approved providers to understand their obligations, we have published our guidance for providers.
To view the legislation, go to Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Governance and Reporting for Approved Providers) Principles 2022.
For more information, visit our Provider governance webpage.
New restrictive practices consent arrangements
New consent arrangements will be introduced around restrictive practices. These will more clearly set out who can give consent in situations where restrictive practices are necessary for a person who is unable to provide consent themselves.
Strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards
The Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) is in the process of finalising its review and advising Government of the outcome including delivering a set of strengthened Quality Standards. Further information on the consultation program that is informing the review of the Standards is available on the Department’s website.
The Commission is contributing to the revision of the Quality Standards in our role as the national end-to-end regulator of aged care services.
For more information on the strengthened Quality Standards visit the Stronger Standards, Better Aged Care Program page.
We are hosting a series of webinars on the aged care reforms from a regulatory perspective.
Please check our webinar page regularly for:
- updated information and registration links to attend upcoming webinars
- links to the webinar recordings, together with Q&As that could not be addressed in the live webinars due to time constraints.
Registration for webinars open no later than one week before the event.
Submit a question
Questions relating to regulatory requirements of the reforms can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responses to de-identified questions will be added to this page and updated regularly.
You can also read more about the government’s aged care reform initiatives on the Department of Health and Aged Care's website.