The Australian aged and disability care sector is very significant, and is rapidly growing with funding at record levels. This year it is estimated to reach AUD 18.6 billion and to increase by AUD 5 billion to AUD 23.6 billion over the next five years.

The Royal Commission announcement follows widespread community concerns expressed following several highly publicised incidents of poor standards of care, abuse and serious neglect of residents at Australian aged care facilities.

The terms of reference are yet to be confirmed but the intent is that the Royal Commission will inquire into the quality of care provided in residential facilities and under home based care arrangements for people of all ages with disabilities.

The terms of reference are expected to include:

  • The quality of care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;
  • The challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;
  • The challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians suffering dementia and addressing their care needs as they age; and
  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including in remote, rural and regional Australia.

The inquiry is expected to impact care facility owners, operators and funders as well as service providers to the sector. It will likely cover the public, private and not for profit sectors. It has the potential to be a very detailed and broad ranging Commission of inquiry.