ECCV has provided feedback on the Australian Government’s new Aged Care Act (Exposure Draft) to ensure the legislation meets the needs of older people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, as well as workers and carers. The new legislation is set to commence on 1 July 2024.

This submission was informed by the experience and expertise of our Positive Ageing and Aged Care Policy Advisory Committee. The most important point made by our members and by organisations working in aged care and support is that the new Aged Care Act (Exposure Draft) needs to be amended in multiple sections to reflect that access and support for people from culturally diverse backgrounds cannot be seen as something ‘additional’ or optional.

The rights of all older Australians need to be upheld. This involves proactive attention to the language, culture, faith, spirituality, abilities, and literacy level of all older people who are in the aged care system or who may need support, so they can fully participate in decisions affecting their lives. ECCV believes a Multicultural Seniors’ Advisory Council would be well placed to advise the System Governor in ensuring this happens, in the interests of older people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

At a system level, we also believe the new Aged Care Act should be linked with a Multicultural Aged Care Strategy that elevates the cultural appropriateness of the aged care system as a whole and improves the experiences of older people from diverse cultural, linguistic, spiritual and faith backgrounds who use or wish to access aged care services.

Older people from migrant and refugee backgrounds face multiple, overlapping disadvantages and barriers when navigating the aged care system so it is important they receive culturally safe support and guidance.

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