Abstract: Over the years, a range of policies and programs targeting the provision of aged care services in rural and remote communities have been steadily developed, including adaptations of national programs to suit rural and remote services. These services are currently provided within a legislative framework which regulates most aspects of service provision, including the quantity and types of services that are available, where they are located, their quality and their cost to the consumer. Looking to the future, the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission, through a public inquiry, to develop detailed options for redesigning Australia’s aged care system to ensure that it can meet the challenges facing it in the decades ahead. The challenges identified by the Government include increased consumer preference for greater choice of aged care services; the increasing incidence of chronic diseases; the need to secure a significant expansion of the aged care workforce; the diverse geographical spread of Australia’s population; and the wide variations in individuals’ income and asset levels. At the same time, Australian governments are embarking on reforms of the health system, including primary health care. Against this background, this paper focuses on the Productivity Commission’s draft Report, Caring for Older Australians, which was released for public comment in January 2011. If implemented, the Commission’s draft recommendations would result in a fundamental reshaping of the current system of aged care provision in Australia. The question is whether, from a bush perspective, the Commission’s draft recommendations are for better or for worse? Are they too metro-centric? Where relevant, the paper also considers the recommendations in the context of other recent developments in the health sector affecting rural and remote health services.
Nick Mersiades, 2011, National approaches to ageing well in rural and remote locations: an assessment of the Productivity Commission’s draft report Caring for Older Australians, Conference Paper, viewed 16 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3087.