New COVID-19 payment to keep senior Australians in residential aged care safe

Media release
01 May 2020
Prime Minister, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Minister for Youth and Sport

3.46 PM

Residential aged care providers will benefit from an additional COVID-19 specific support package totalling $205 million under targeted measures announced today by the Morrison Government.

It takes the total COVID-19 specific Federal Government funding for aged care to more than $850 million.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the latest injection of funds was aimed at ensuring aged care providers can offer reinforced levels of safety and care for those who need it most.

“Senior Australians are highly vulnerable to coronavirus and we are seeing the cost the pandemic is having on facilities around the country,” the Prime Minister said.

“This is about keeping those people in residential aged care, protected and safe.”

The announcement comes as National Cabinet assessed an aged care sector code of conduct for visitations to ensure residents can not only be kept safe but continue to receive the social and emotional support they need from their families at this time.

The payment – to all Commonwealth funded residential aged care providers – will be linked to the number of residents being cared for by each facility, and is aimed at covering the additional costs of caring for the health and wellbeing of residents during the pandemic.

The costs include additional staffing, training, supporting visitations and connections and the provision of personal protective equipment.

Facilities outside major metropolitan areas will receive a 50 per cent loading to cover the additional costs of providing care in these areas.

Providers will received around $900 per resident in major metropolitan areas and around $1350 per resident in all other areas.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said it was another measure to reinforce the sector and protect our loved ones.  

“The health, wellbeing and safety of elderly residents is our highest priority – and this measure helps reassure family and friends that everything is being done to look after their loved ones during this most difficult time,” Minister Colbeck said.

The latest round of funding follows the $235 million retention bonus paid to residential and home care workers to strengthen the workforce during the pandemic and $101 million to support providers directly impacted by an outbreak.

Additionally, the Business Improvement Fund has been extended for another year with $48 million in support as required by providers.

“This payment will ensure providers continue to invest in COVID-19 preparedness to protect the people in their care,” Minister Colbeck said.

“We are seeing how devastating the impact of COVID-19 can be if there is an outbreak in an aged care facility.

“While Australia is doing well by international comparison, we must remain vigilant – particularly in residential aged care to protect some of our most vulnerable Australians.”