Aged Care Reform Bill Submission

Aged Care

By threatening severe punishments for aged care staff, volunteers and boards of not-for-profit organisations if they breach vague and poorly worded offence provisions, or if they are found to have committed offences of strict liability, this Bill undermines its objective of enabling the sector to draw upon a sufficiently skilled workforce and cohort of volunteers.

The threat of heavy fines for aged care staff who breach the code of conduct, first introduced in the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Act 2022, is a poor regulatory strategy and needs to be reconsidered. The offence provision is inappropriate as a means of encouraging compliance with a code of conduct that sets standards rather than creating rules. The maximum fine is for an amount greater than the majority of people earn after tax in a whole year. It is a wholly disproportionate response to the identified problem and may deter people from wanting to work in the sector unless they are indemnified or fully insured against legal risk. Such an indemnification policy or additional insurance will add cost to aged care organisations that are already struggling financially. This will impair the Government’s objective to promote the financial sustainability of aged care organisations.

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Patrick Parkinson

PATRICK PARKINSON

Professor Patrick Parkinson AM is the Executive Director of Publica and a leading voice in issues related to families.

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