Legislative Changes

On 28 June 2013, the five Bills forming the Living Longer Living Better package of bills received Royal Assent and passed into law.

These include the:

This is a significant step in implementing the Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package. The changes to the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) form an important part of the two year legislative amendment process.

Amendments to the Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Bill 2013

The Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Bill 2013 was passed by the Parliament with the following amendments:
    • delayed start date of those elements planned to start from 1 July 2013 to 1 August 2013
    • strengthened powers for the Aged Care Commissioner;
    • changes to make the Aged Care Financing Authority a statutory committee; and
    • other minor and technical amendments.
The sector expressed concern about the limited time that may be available between passage of legislation and commencement of some elements of the reform package. To address these concerns, the Government moved an amendment to delay the commencement date of schedule 1 of the Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Bill 2013 from 1 July 2013 to 1 August 2013. This allowed time to communicate the proposed legislative changes to the sector and to enable the sector to adapt to the changes.

Subordinate Legislation

As part of the Department of Health and Ageing’s briefings, information was provided to stakeholders about how the reforms will be reflected in the subordinate legislation (Aged Care Principles and Aged Care Determinations) that are made under the Act.

The delegated legislation that commenced on 1 July 2013 has been made and includes items such as the commencement of the Workforce Supplement. Furthermore, the Transitional Homeless Supplement has also been introduced through subordinate legislation and will commence on 1 October 2013. The delegated legislation that commenced on 1 August 2013 has also been made.

Following a number of public consultations, the Fees and Payments Principles 2014 and the Aged Care (Maximum Accommodation Payment Amount) Determination 2014 were made.

The Principles contain rules about the charging of accommodation payments including the publishing of prices and the approval of prices above the Minister’s threshold.

The Determination sets the threshold at $550,000 refundable deposit or equivalent daily payment. If an approved provider wishes to charge a price above that threshold, the approved provider must make an application to the Aged Care Pricing Commissioner.

Further information is available in the fact sheet ‘Changes to Accommodation Payments from 1 July 2014’.

All registered delegated legislation can be viewed at the Australian Government's ComLaw website.

An Overview of the proposed changes to the Aged Care Principles and Determinations made under the Aged Care Act 1997 is also available on the Living Longer Living Better website. Please note that this document does not reflect recent changes such as the amendments to the start date of the new Act.

Further Consultation on Subordinate Legislation

As part of the ongoing process to implement the aged care reforms, a number of Principles made under the Aged Care Act 1997 will be revoked and created for commencement on 1 July 2014.

From March 2014, the Department of Social Services (DSS) is progressively releasing exposure drafts of these legislative instruments for comment, which are available on the DSS website.

The second group of Exposure Draft Principles are available for comment until 5 May 2014 include: Further Exposure Drafts will be published for comment on the DSS website as they become available.

Senate Inquiry into Legislation

On 14 March 2013, the Senate referred the five Acts (previously Bills) to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee (the Committee) for inquiry.

As part of the Committee process, the Committee sought written submissions to assist with its inquiry into the five Bills. The Committee received in excess of 100 submissions, which can be viewed on the Committee website under the submissions received tab.

The Committee held public hearings as part of its inquiry, during the period 29 April and 2 May 2013. Further information on these hearings can be found on the Committee's website under the public hearings and transcripts tab.

The Committee delivered its report into the five Bills on 31 May 2013. The Committee's report is available on the Parliament of Australia website.

The Australian Government released its response on 18 June 2013. The Australian Government response to the report of the Senate Committee is now available.

As reflected in the Government's response, the then Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Minister Butler MP, has written to the Aged Care Financing Authority Chair requesting the Authority monitor the impact of the Living Longer Living Better reforms.

For information, see letter from Minister Butler to Ms Lynda O'Grady, Chair, Aged Care Financing Authority.

Information previously provided on the proposed legislative changes is available here.

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Last updated 15 April, 2014

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