UnitingCare Australia supports the improvement of the collection of financial data from aged care providers if it is carried out in an open, fair, transparent and accountable manner by governments.

The data collection should not impose significant additional administrative burdens on providers and should seek to streamline data collection where possible. As a first principle data already available to the Commonwealth should be utilised before imposing further red tape on providers.

A comprehensive cost of care study is supported but consideration should be given to constructing this in a way that minimises the workload for providers and provides timely and accurate information (such as through a 3 month sample).

Data collection must be consistent with the requirements of other bodies (the ACNC, ASIC, Accounting Standards and the Aged Care Legislation). Necessary changes are supported provided that they ultimately benefit consumer and the viability of services that support older people.

UnitingCare Australia appreciates the opportunity to provide comment on the Social Security Amendment (Supporting More Australians into Work) Bill 2013.

This submission is premised on the view that all Australians have the right to live a decent life, which UnitingCare Australia defines as: being able to access appropriate food, clothing and healthcare; safe and secure housing; meaningful work, education, rest and enjoyment; and the opportunity to participate in and contribute to communities.

UnitingCare Australia believes that the charitable community services sector is an important partner for government and other sectors in the delivery of services and support to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our society. Many policy and legislative decisions, although not specifically targeted at our sector, impact on the Commonwealth’s relationship with us.

UnitingCare Australia welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Dementia and Veterans’ Supplements in Aged Care Consultation Paper of April 2013. We welcome the recognition of the additional care needs of people with dementia and mental health issues receiving support from residential and home care services. The following comments and questions of clarification are provided on the Consultation Paper.

This submission provides our assessment of the Exposure draft of the Charities Bill 2013 and associated Bills, building on the comments we made in our December 2011 submission to the consultation on ‘A Definition of Charity’.

We believe that the Exposure draft of the Charities Bill 2013 and associated Bills, while sound in structure and purpose, needs to be amended so as to provide greater clarity and certainty in the following key areas: the disqualifying purpose; application of the presumption of public benefit; and the treatment of “infrastructure” entities which support charities in fulfilling their purpose and mission.

UnitingCare Australia welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Second Draft Discussion Paper regarding the Accommodation Pricing Guidelines, Significant Refurbishment of residential Aged Care Services, Fees and Payments Principles 2013, Subsidy Principles 2013, Aged Care (Maximum Accommodation Payment Amount) Determination 2013.

We have been an active participant in the consultation processes to establish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and the Commonwealth Government’s wider not-for-profit (NFP) reform agenda.

UnitingCare Australia welcomes the tabling of the five Aged Care Bills that are designed to
give effect to the “Living Longer, Living Better” package of reforms.

UnitingCare Australia works with and on behalf of the UnitingCare network to advocate for policies and programs that will improve people’s quality of life.

UnitingCare Australia would like to commend the Department of Human services for undertaking an independent
review of Centrepay system, and for seeking comment from the community in this process.