SA-BEST's priorities are:
- free full ambulance cover for pensioners over the age of 65 and low-income earners;
- free car registration;
- access to free public transport 24/7;
- free 'swim and gym' access to public swimming pools and fitness centres for seniors - in line with the UK model;
- free access to SA’s national parks;
- Free parking for the first three hours at public hospitals;
- provide a one-off waiver of stamp duty for aged pensioners who downsized to a smaller property;
- no charge for driver’s licence tests for concession card holders;
- fully fund the monitoring of personal alert alarms, and:
- the reinstatement of government funding for DOME (Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise) – a not-for-profit employment and training organisation that assisted older Australians want to re-enter the workforce.
- move for a parliamentary inquiry into all aspects of aged care in South Australia, including the state’s response to seniors during the pandemic, and;
- introduce Australia-first legislation in 2022 for the creation of a Retirement Village Commissioner within the Office of Ageing Well to oversee the operation of the Retirement Villages Act; manage and adjudicate disputes; inform and educate people from all cultures about the ageing sector and their legal rights; enforce any penalties on operators; investigate any claims of abuse and whether protection needs to be provided.
SA-BEST respects the worth, dignity and values of older South Australians and their rights to age well with access and support from community services where and as needed.
We see this as one of our highest priorities, and are committed to strengthening ageing communities across the state to ensure older South Australians are well cared for and are not isolated, neglected or abused.
We also acknowledge and respect the invaluable contribution they have made – and continue to make – to society.
One of our first actions in the 55th South Australian Parliament will be to call for a full enquiry into all aspects of aged care in South Australia, including the state response relevant to older people during the pandemic.
With respect to the meeting the needs of older South Australians, we will improve both the standard of and access to all aged care and ancillary services, through a comprehensive range of evidence-based policies, initiatives and legislative change that place ageing people at the forefront, within a rights-based approach.
We will continue to reach out and consult with aged care advocacy groups such as the Council on the Ageing (COTA) and South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), as well as the Federal and State Government agencies responsible for ageing, health and wellbeing.
As many of the financial responsibilities for senior and ageing citizens sit with the Federal Government, SA-BEST will lobby Canberra to ensure all of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety are implemented.
The 2021 Royal Commission found over the past few decades successive Australian Governments have brought a level of ambivalence, timidity and detachment to their approach to aged care.
The Commission’s final report noted there are systemic issues that are partly a result of the split in responsibilities for health care and aged care between federal, state and territory governments.
It is indisputable aged care services need to be better managed, co-ordinated and financed to maximise outcomes for ageing South Australians in regional and metropolitan areas.
SA-BEST remains deeply committed to the urgent need to address the problems and gaps these systemic failures create.
In particular, SA-BEST will focus on the mental health and wellbeing of residents in aged care facilities, including access to family, loved ones and or legal representatives during a pandemic or a crisis; and stringent checks and balances on the administration of chemical restraints, tranquilisers and other mind altering drugs to people in aged care residential settings.
SA-BEST will specifically lobby the Federal Government to increase funding to Meals on Wheels SA and other subsidised meal services.
South Australian Priorities
SA-BEST is committed to protecting the rights of ageing South Australians and in particular we will work to achieve:
Aged Care Workforce planning and capacity building
SA-BEST will work on targeted education and training for aged, disability and health care professionals, better staff to client ratios, better total staff times, better pay and equity across the aged, disability and health care sectors, and better conditions for workers.
Registered Training Organisations delivering aged care training courses need to be properly accredited, monitored and standards enforced.
TAFE needs to be reinstated to deliver no fee high quality training to ensure the availability of suitably qualified and experienced staff for aged care services well into the future.
A Certificate III should be the mandatory minimum qualification required for personal care workers performing paid work in aged care.
SA-BEST will push for a standard national curriculum, minimum training periods of 6 months and a higher number and proportion of certificate four level and above staff, in all aged care settings.
We will work with all stakeholder groups to better manage the aged care industry to develop and implement better staff ratios, reflective of a higher level skill mix consistent with the 147 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Increase the number of Transitional Professional Practice places to around 700-1000 per annum to provide greater support for new graduates within the state health system.
South Australian graduate nurses are being neglected by poor support systems, lack of tenure and being subjected to extreme workload pressure and risk in the SA Health system. SA-BEST strongly supports calls to maintain adequate staffing levels to ensure we provide the highest standard of care to aged South Australians.
SA-BEST will advocate for increased gerontological and palliative care curriculum time within undergraduate nursing and medical degrees and for more funding for gerontological and palliative care more generally.
Improve capacity and integration of medical, allied health care, palliative care, ambulances and dental services.
SA-BEST has consistently called for an increase in the capacity of the state’s public hospitals, including in emergency departments where record-level ramping has disproportionately impacted older South Australians.
We will continue to advocate for a substantial increase in gerontologic and palliative care services, including in regional areas, and for better funding for the South Australian Ambulance Service to respond to aged care and ageing South Australian’s health needs.
We will also strongly advocate for better access to free and mobile dental services throughout metropolitan Adelaide, and rural, regional and remote areas.
We will also call for better integration of federal and state services, as called for in the Royal Commission, so that older people can better navigate and access the services they need.
SA-BEST will proactively pursue making a wider range of concessions available to older South Australians.
Experts tells us our elderly citizens embrace such initiatives to maintain contact with family and friends, embrace social, physical and volunteer activities.
SA-BEST is committed to pushing for greater preventative health funding and investment with the aim of keeping older South Australians healthier, more active and out of hospital. This includes initiatives like free 'swim and gym' at public swimming pools and fitness centres.
In recognition of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Council of the Ageing (COTA) and South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), SA-BEST will also advocate for better and more availability of flexible housing options for the elderly, particularly older people on lower fixed incomes.
Closed Circuit TV
We will continue to advocate for monitored CCTV where requested by the resident, family and or guardian, with appropriate privacy and governance controls in place, including personalised real time monitoring and alert systems. CCTV systems from overseas have suitable privacy settings that can be used.
Edith Cowan University in WA is currently undertaking a survey about CCTV in aged care facilities and has found 57% of family members and 38% of residents would like CCTV used in public spaces. The study also found 48 % of family members and 25% of residents would like it in bedrooms.
In 2019, SA-BEST had plans for an Australian-first initiative to have CCTV cameras installed in the bedrooms of residents in South Australia Government-operated aged care facilities – but both major parties refused to support the proposed new legislation.
Instead, after numerous delays, the South Australian Government announced plans for a trial in response to our pressure.
The results of that trial – in two small aged care facilities – have not yet been released.
Employment of Older South Australians
SA-BEST acknowledges the skills and life experiences that can be utilised through employment of older people and strongly supports initiatives advocated for by COTA and SACOSS to unlock the skills and experience of this sector, so they can re-enter or remain in the workforce more effectively than at present.
We will strongly advocate to the Commonwealth that older people can continue to work and be paid an appropriate salary and pay tax while maintaining their aged pension, to meet skills demand and workforce stress from the impact of the pandemic and skilled worker shortages.
We will strongly support state-based initiatives for re-entry program for skills and labour shortages.