Residential aged care is big business. The Aged Care Financing Authority estimates the sector requires an investment of $31 billion over the next decade. Most of this will come from the private sector (The Age, 29/7). The bipartisan “Living longer living better” reforms have decreased regulation in aged-care homes. Vulnerable older people are now “consumers” in a market-based system. Deregulation serves the interests of providers, not residents. Paradoxically, private providers of aged-care homes lobby for a decrease in regulation and an increase in government subsidies. Leading Age Services Australia, the peak body representing private providers, is using images of “money bags” to promote their funding workshops to optimise government subsidies. This ad suggests that profits trump residents’ care. Recent calls for camera surveillance in aged-care homes divert the focus away from the need for systemic change. The care of vulnerable older Australians is too important to be traded on the market like any other commodity.
Sarah Russell, Northcote