ADVOCACY group Council on the Ageing is calling for a whole-of-government ageing strategy that prioritises health, particularly oral and mental health, aged care reform, economic security and elder abuse in its pre-budget submission to the federal government.
Within its submission on health, COTA asks the government to address the “worsening oral health crisis” for older people through an older Australians oral health strategy and a dental benefits schedule (along the lines of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule).
It also seeks the development of a mental health strategy for older people, focused on removing age discrimination in accessing mental health care, older age suicide prevention and replicating or expanding the mental health community support introduced under the NDIS to reach older people.
In the area of aged care, COTA wants a firm timetable for moving residential aged care to a consumer driven platform with “portable bed licences” allocated to consumers and not providers; more short-term funding to increase the number of high level home care packages; improvements to My Aged Care, and implementation of the recommendations of the Carnell-Paterson report by establishing the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
An increase in workforce participation for over-50s, gender equality in retirement incomes, increasing the rate of Newstart and increasing Commonwealth rent assistance by 30 per cent are some of the financial initiatives sought.
Calling elder abuse a “cancer in Australian society that needs to be tackled now”, COTA wants to see the development of an elder abuse national framework and plan.