Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the announcement of additional funding to help the aged care sector through the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Chester said the extra $563.3 million from the Federal Government to extend support for the aged care sector’s response to the coronavirus would bring its support to Australians in aged care to over $1.5 billion since the pandemic began.
“The majority of deaths in Victoria during this second wave of coronavirus infections has been older people in aged care,” Mr Chester said.
“Gippsland has not been spared, with an aged care resident in Traralgon dying from the virus.
“It is a heartbreaking and stressful situation for residents, their families and the staff who care for them and it is important we do whatever we can to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
The Federal Government will provide an extra $245 million support payment to all residential aged care providers. This is on top of $205 million in payments made to providers in June.
This funding must be used to fund and support enhanced infection control capability, including through an on-site clinical lead. The money may also be used to address other coronavirus-related costs, such as increased staffing expenses, communications with families and managing visitation arrangements.
Providers will receive around $975 per resident in major metropolitan areas and around $1,435 per resident in all other areas. The payments will be made through Services Australia by early October.
The Federal Government will also continue the 30 per cent increase in the viability supplement and the residential care homeless supplement for a further six months.
In recognition of the higher costs providers face in hotspot areas, particularly in supporting their staff, the government will provide additional levels of support, including a third Workforce Retention Payment, costing $154.5 million.
The government will also extend by four weeks the Supporting Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 Grant for providers in current hotspots of Greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire. A total of $92.4 million will be available. Further funding under this grant will be activated as new hotspots are declared by the Commonwealth, based on local circumstances.