A $205 million national COVID-19 support package will help protect older Australians in aged care, Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien announced today.
Mr O'Brien welcomed the latest injection of funds to ensure aged care providers can continue to offer reinforced levels of care and safety, which takes the total COVID-19 specific Federal Government funding for aged care to more than $850 million.
"This funding helps protect the most vulnerable people in our community as we work together to face this unprecedented public health challenge, ensuring they receive the best possible health and care," Mr O'Brien said.
The payment – to all Commonwealth-funded residential aged care providers is aimed at covering the additional costs of caring for the health and wellbeing of residents during the pandemic, such as additional staffing, training, supporting visitations 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 receive around $900 per resident in major metropolitan areas and around $1350 per resident in all other areas.
Mr O'Brien welcomed the additional funding for regional areas, noting that it was more expensive to provide care in smaller regional communities like those in Wide Bay.
"These measures help reassure families across Wide Bay that everything possible is being done to look after their loved ones during this extremely difficult time, and that our older Australians, who have spent so many years working and caring for younger generations, continue to receive the care and protection they deserve," he 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.
Additionally, funding announced in March includes $78 million for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply.
The Business Improvement Fund has also been extended for another year with $48 million in support.
"This payment will ensure aged care providers continue to invest in COVID-19 preparedness to protect the people in their care," Mr O'Brien said.
"We have seen how devastating the impact of COVID-19 can be if there is an outbreak in an aged care facility, and while Australia is doing well by international comparison, we must remain vigilant – particularly in areas like Wide Bay which has an ageing population."