The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring equality of access to high-quality, culturally appropriate aged care for First Australians.
Australia’s diversity is one of its greatest strengths and as our population ages we must have aged care services which reflect this diversity.
The Aged Care Diversity Action Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—the first of its kind in Australia—recognises the special needs of First Australians aged 50 years and over.
There are more than 100,000 senior First Australians.
It is estimated the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population will grow by 59 per cent between 2011 and 2031.
However, the population of First Australians aged 65 and over is projected, in this same period, to grow by 200 per cent.
Our Elders deserve care and support which takes into consideration their individual needs, life experience and cultures that date back 65,000 years.
This plan is a guide which sets out the steps for families and aged care recipients, and for providers, to meet the needs of First Australians in both residential and home care situations.
It is based on six outcomes: Making informed choices; Systemic planning; Accessible care and support; Proactive and flexible care; Respectful and inclusive services; Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable.
It can assist providers of aged care services to identify what they can do to deliver more inclusive and culturally appropriate services to our Elders.
It will help providers to develop specific resources and materials to help build cultural competency and cultural safety in their organisation.
I thank the 150 National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services for their invaluable input to this process—this action plan is stronger for this expert advice which reflects the real-world experience of First Australians.
The plan will help address current disparities for senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, helping streamline access to aged care assessments and the full range of available aged care programs.
It will help our Elders and their families exercise choice and control over the care they receive.
Quality aged care embraces the dignity and human rights of every single person and makes sure their care needs are met.
The Morrison Government’s reform program continues at full pace, with generational changes to help ensure everyone, at each stage of their senior years, is cared for in a way that works best for them and their families.
I thank the Aged Care Sector Committee Diversity Sub-group for its work to make this action plan a reality.
This information and the willingness of people to share their knowledge and expertise laid the foundations of this important action plan for the benefit of Elders, their families and communities.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Action Plan is one of four distinct action plans developed under the Aged Care Diversity Framework.
The Aged Care Diversity Framework and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Diversity Action Plan is available on the Department of Health’s website at https://agedcare.health.gov.au/older-people-their-families-and-carers/people-from-diverse-backgrounds