Thursday, 8 October 2015

Changes to social leave from 17 September 2015

Due to recent changes to aged care legislation, from 17 September 2015 pre-entry leave will no longer be deducted from the social leave that residents may take from their service. Residents are entitled to take up to 52 overnight absences from residential aged care per financial year. Providers are reminded that residents can still have up to 7 days of pre-entry leave prior to entering residential aged care. Providers will still need to record periods of pre-entry leave on the entry form for residents to ensure there is certainty on date of entry to care and so that DHS can properly advise residents of the date from which a basic daily fee may be applied. Care recipients can be charged a basic daily fee during the pre-entry leave period. Residential care subsidy and supplements are not payable during pre-entry leave and care recipients cannot be charged accommodation payments or means tested fees for the pre-entry leave period. More information about the changes to the Social Services Legislation Amendment (No. 2) Act 2015 is available at the Comlaw website at

Update on the National Aged Care Quality Indicators Programme

Work on quality indicators for home care has commenced and consultations with providers and consumers are now underway. A pilot of an initial set of indicators, including consumer experience and quality of life measures will take place next year. For residential aged care, the pilot of three initial quality indicators concluded on 4 September 2015. Work has also progressed on consumer experience and quality of life measures for aged care and it is expected that some tools will be ‘road tested’ later this year with a small group of providers, prior to national piloting in 2016.

Feedback sought on Home Care Discussion Paper – Reminder

In the 2015-16 Budget, the Australian Government announced significant changes to improve the way home care services are delivered to older people, building on the current consumer directed care approach. From February 2017, funding for a home care package will follow the consumer, allowing eligible consumers to choose their approved provider, as well as more flexibility to change their provider if they wish. Once the changes come into effect, providers will not have to apply for new home care places through the Aged Care Approvals Round, significantly reducing red tape.
A discussion paper on the proposed changes is now available on the Department’s consultation webpage at The aged care sector and other interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the discussion paper, with written submissions due by 5:00pm on Tuesday 27 October 2015. Interested parties are also invited to join an upcoming live webinar on Monday 19 October 2015. The webinar will outline the proposed arrangements and provide an opportunity to ask questions about the changes. Details of the webinar are available on the Department’s website at

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Victorian Government to support creation of safe access zones for abortion clinics


Victorian Government to support creation of safe access zones for abortion clinics

1 September 2015
The Human Rights Law Centre welcomes the news that the Victorian Government will back the creation of safe access zones to ensure women can safely and privately access health services without being harassed or intimidated.
The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, said safe access zones are about respecting the privacy and dignity of women accessing terminations.
“This is a very positive development. For too long women have been subjected to abuse and intimidation when exercising their right to access legal health services,” said Ms Howie.
The announcement follows last week’s failed attempt in the Supreme Court to compel the City of Melbourne to take adequate steps to ensure women could safely access a fertility clinic in East Melbourne.
Ms Howie said safe access zones are a sensible and practical solution that can strike a healthy balance between the right to freedom of expression and the rights privacy, security and healthcare.
“No one is suggesting that people should be prevented from expressing their opinions, we’re just asking that they do so in a way that respects women’s rights to privacy, security and access to healthcare,” said Ms Howie.
In 2013 Tasmania introduced access zones around clinics in which terminations are conducted. Similar zones also exist in the United States and Canada. The ACT government has also released an exposure draft of a bill to create patient privacy zones that support women’s rights to access health services privately and free from intimidating conduct. 
In August 2015, Victorian Sex Party MP Fiona Patten introduced a bill to amend the Public Health and Wellbeing Act and create safe access zones in Victoria. The bill received considerable support from the Victorian Greens, Trades Hall, the Australian Medical Association, Women’s Health Victoria and many other groups. The government now proposes to introduce a bill in similar form, albeit with some amendments.
“This is a great example of MPs from various political persuasions working together to find sensible and practical ways to stand up for women’s rights. Well done to all involved,” said Ms Howie.
The Human Rights Law Centre will continue to provide assistance regarding the details of the proposed bill.