National policies and initiatives

National Policies and Initiatives

The Australian Government has a number of policies and initiatives which ensure that aged care services are equitable and accessible to all older Australians.

Aged Care Act 1997

Among its objectives the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) articulates the following commitments:

2-1 (e)  to facilitate access to aged care services by those who need them, regardless of race, culture, language, gender, economic circumstance or geographic location;

2-1 (g)  to encourage diverse, flexible and responsive aged care services that (i) are appropriate to meet the needs of the recipients of those services and the carers of those recipients; and (ii)  facilitate the independence of, and choice available to, those recipients and carers.

The Act also identifies nine ‘special needs groups’. These include Indigenous Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, veterans and people who live in rural or remote areas, people who are financially and socially disadvantaged and care leavers. The Government also funds a number of supplements, strategies and programs to meet the needs of these groups.


Charter of Aged Care Rights

The Charter of Aged Care Rights sets out what consumers, their families, carers and representatives can expect from an aged care service.


Aged Care Quality Standards

The Aged Care Quality Standards apply to all aged care services including residential care, home care, flexible care and services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program.  

The Aged Care Quality Standards are administered by the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 

Aged Care Diversity Framework 

Released in December 2017, The Aged Care Diversity Framework seeks to embed diversity in the design and delivery of aged care; and support action to address perceived or actual barriers to consumers accessing safe, equitable and quality aged care, while enabling consumers and carers to be partners in this process.

The framework supports and extends upon the actions and initiatives already undertaken by the Australian Government and the aged care sector to build an inclusive, respectful, and person centered aged care system.


Aged Care Diversity Framework Action Plans

Action plans have been developed under the Aged Care Diversity Framework to assist government and aged care service providers to address specific barriers and challenges faced by older people with diverse characteristics and life experiences. 


Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS National)

Everyone using, or considering accessing, aged care services should be able to communicate in their preferred language. Better access starts with clearer communication, no matter what language you speak, your cultural heritage or community.

The Australian Government offers fully funded interpreting support via the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to access aged care information. TIS National can be used to support discussions with people who use aged care services and people seeking those services, such as to discuss care needs, services and preferences and to support aged care recipients to participate in social and cultural activities.

TIS National's interpreting services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be accessed by aged care providers at no cost via telephone or through face-to-face sessions.

TIS National has offered interpreting services for more than 70 years and has access to more than 2,700 interpreters, in over 150 languages and dialects, across Australia.

TIS National provides:

  • immediate phone interpreting - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • pre-booked phone interpreting
  • on-site (in person) interpreting
  • Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) 

Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) - where you can answer recorded questions to be directed to the help you need.

Find out more at The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) for aged care service providers 


Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC)

The Australian Government funds an organisation in each state and territory to equip aged care providers to deliver culturally appropriate care to older people from CALD backgrounds. These organisations provide cultural diversity training to staff of aged care services, disseminate information on high quality aged care practices and support aged care service providers to develop new culturally inclusive services.


Free translation service for aged care providers

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is offering free translation services to help aged care providers communicate with older Australians from diverse backgrounds.

As an aged care provider it is important that people in your care and their families have information about the care they need, delivered in a way they can understand. Translated materials in their language will help them make informed choices that suit their needs. 

This service will support you in providing culturally safe, appropriate and inclusive care, in line with the Aged Care Quality Standards by helping you to communicate key written and audio/video materials to those in your care for whom English is not their preferred language.

This includes: 

  • older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • First Nations Elders
  • Deaf, blind, deaf-blind or hard of hearing older Australians.

Find out more and request a translation today at Different languages, same aged care