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)

The Australian Government provides financial support to government funded aged care providers to access interpreting services. TIS National is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides both telephone and onsite interpreting. TIS National provides both telephone and on-site interpreting services and can be used in both residential and home care settings. Within the home care setting TIS can be used to assist consumers with understanding the Home Care Packages Programme, including their home care agreement, care plan, individualised budget and monthly statements, at no cost to them.

When accessing TIS National, providers need to quote their unique client code. If a provider is unsure of their client code, they can contact TIS National directly on 1300 655 820.


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.