National prevalence study and working group

On 1 October 2017, the Attorney-General Senator the Hon George Brandis announced funding for new research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies that would focus on the prevalence and nature of elder abuse in Australia. This implemented ALRC Recommendation 3-5 that ‘There should be a national prevalence study of elder abuse to build the evidence base to inform policy responses’.

The Attorney also announced the establishment of an Elder Abuse working group, consisting of State and Territory Attorneys-General, to report to Ministers via the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council. This implemented ALRC Rec 3-2.

National Plan 

One of the key recommendations of Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 131) was the development of a National Plan to combat elder abuse. This included a suite of recommendations regarding the development of the plan.

On 20 February 2018, in a speech to the Fifth National Elder Abuse Conference in Sydney, the Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, announced that Attorneys-General across Australia have agreed to develop a National Plan to address elder abuse.

As recommended by the ALRC, the National Plan has five goals:

  1. promote the autonomy and agency of older people;
  2. address ageism and promote community understanding of elder abuse;
  3. achieve national consistency;
  4. safeguard at-risk older people and improve responses; and
  5. build the evidence basis.

The Council of Attorneys-General expects to receive a draft of the National Plan by the end of 2018.

Aged Care

In a speech to the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference on 19 February 2018, the Federal Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, MP noted the ALRC’s recommendation for a new serious incident response scheme, which was sanctioned by the subsequent Review of the Aged Care Quality Regulatory System led by Kate Carnell and Professor Ron Paterson. The Minister said, “The recommendations represent significant changes to aged care regulation, and our full response will be announced in the context of this year’s Budget”.

On 18 April 2018, the Federal Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, MP announced the establishment of a new national independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission bringing together aged care regulation, compliance and complaints handling in one regulator. As part of the reforms the Government will developing options, in consultation with the aged care sector, for a Serious Incident Response Scheme as recommended by the ALRC in Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 131).