Australian Aged Care Top of Mind for Nation’s Leaders

August 7, 2020 Updated: August 7, 2020

Aged care homes remain top of mind for the nation’s leaders as more Australians face travel restrictions because of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders on Aug 7 agreed to ongoing audits of the aged care sector after recent deadly outbreaks in Melbourne nursing homes.

The audits will look at preparedness to cope with the disease, which has killed 181 aged care residents in Australia.

Victoria accounts for 150 of those, with seven of the latest 11 deaths reported on Friday as the national toll rose to 266.

Acting Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly said the audits would examine preventative measures and training to respond to outbreaks.

“Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best,” he said.

The stress testing is expected to aid a national aged care outbreak response plan in two weeks.

Queensland has closed its borders to NSW and ACT residents as of Saturday in a bid to prevent a second outbreak occurring in the Sunshine State.

Queenslanders returning home faced heavy traffic with delays of up to two hours at border crossings.

The Northern Territory has reopened its borders to all Queenslanders and residents from NSW’s Eurobodalla Shire and the Blue Mountains.

More workers and businesses will receive the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme when it scales back in September, after the eligibility requirements were eased.

The program will cost a further $15 billion and the changes are designed to cushion the blow of Victoria’s tough restrictions.

Rebecca Gredley in Canberra