Rights for older Australians to be legislated

Rights for older Australians would be legislated under "once in a generation" reforms proposed by the Albanese government. 

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells said the government was seeking feedback on a draft for new legislation.

The proposed Aged Care Act would include a statement of rights for older people and lift standards for people in residential facilities.

Other key features include introducing criminal penalties for aged care providers who do the wrong thing and providing additional protections for whistleblowers to allow reporting without fear of reprisal.

Older Australians, their families and carers, and providers and workers are being urged to have their say on the draft laws.

People can provide feedback until mid-February next year.

Ms Wells said the government was delivering on its promise to fix the aged care crisis.

“We are working hard to make aged care more transparent, to increase direct care for aged care residents, delivering higher worker standards, getting nurses back into nursing homes and have backed aged care workers with a pay rise," she said.

“We are now at the threshold of a once-in-a-generation change. 

"The new Aged Care Act is core to putting the rights of older people at the centre of aged care. 

"We must get it right."

Greens aged care spokeswoman Janet Rice criticised the government for releasing the draft for consultation 11 days before Christmas.

"Advocates and community members deserve to have a proper summer break without having this very substantial draft of critical aged care legislation interrupting their holiday," she said.

“It’s already clear that the draft is flawed."

Senator Rice said it was "incredibly disappointing" the statement of rights specified the protections were not enforceable, which advocates have long called for.

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