NATSIAACC’s Board of Directors met with Department of Health officials to discuss aged care legislation that will be proposed in Parliament.
A central concern of NATSIAACC was a suggestion that the legislation will require aged care providers to have a majority of board members who are independent from that organisation. Clients, relatives of clients and staff, and people with a close connection to staff or clients would not be considered to be independent, which would make it difficult for Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations to be registered aged care providers. The Department of Health advised that an exemption could included in the draft legislation.
There was another in-depth discussion regarding proposals that could see aged care workers needing to pass checks the same as what is required to be an NDIS worker For NDIS, if a worker has a criminal conviction, the relevant State, decides whether that person can work or not. In aged care, providers have discretion when convictions have been for less serious offences. The Royal Commission into Aged Care urged greater employment of Aboriginal people in aged care but making rules like the NDIS could make it more difficult, even though many convictions are decades old.