Aged Care

Significant reform has, and will continue to, impact how aged care and services are delivered to older Australians. In 2015–16, over 1.3 million older people received some form of aged care. [1] In a Commonwealth funded system, the industry is governed under the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Aged Care Principles. At 30 June 2016, there were:

  • 283,268 operational aged care places;
  • 199,449 residential care places;
  • 78,956 home care places; and
  • 4,000 restorative care places.

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) functions outside of the Act and in 2015–16, 640,000 older people received home support through the CHSP.

The Aged Care Sector Committee’s Roadmap aims for a single aged care and support system that is market based and consumer driven, with access based on assessed need. [2] Through the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) model of service delivery, in the Home Care Packages Programme, consumers are supported to set goals, determine the level of ongoing involvement that they wish to have, and make decisions relating to their own care. [3]

Recognising the vital role carers play, by providing care and support to family and friends, respite care is an important support service for frail older people and their carers by enabling the carer to have a break from the caring role. Respite Care is provided in a number of settings, including in the home, centre based day respite, overnight and weekend, and residential respite.

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency accredits Australian Government-subsidised aged care homes and conducts quality reviews of home care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flexible care services. [4]

Primary Health Networks have been established with the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.  The Government has agreed to six key priorities including aged care. [5]

While many services older people receive are Commonwealth funded, many also access care and services through state and local governments and from private services.


  1. Australian Government Department of Health. 2015–16 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health; 2016.
  2. Aged Care Sector Committee. Aged care roadmap. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health; 2016.
  3. COTA Australia. Home Care Today [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 May 05].
  4. Australian Government. Australian Aged Care Quality Agency [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 May 05].
  5. Australian Government Department of Health. Primary Healthcare Networks (PHNs) [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 May 05].


Page updated 05 May 2017