NSW Establishes Aged Care Commissioner In Abuse Crackdown
The NSW government will appoint a commissioner to uncover and end abuse of elderly and disabled people in the state's aged care sector.
At present reports of mistreatment are made through the Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit and the NSW Ombudsman's Standing Inquiry.
But the independent Ageing and Disability Commissioner will be granted expanded powers to initiate investigations, follow up complaints, apply for search warrants and seize evidence.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, announcing the "powerful" new office, said the most vulnerable citizens would be protected.
"We will not tolerate the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older people, or people with disability," she said in a statement.
Police Elder Abuse Officers will be trained and deployed to each command across the state to undertake investigations and feed findings back to the commissioner.
The NSW Commissioner will begin working on July 1 next year. The state response comes two months after the Morrison government announced a nationwide Royal Commission into aged care.
The dual crackdowns are in part because the nation's ageing population is driving a rapid expansion of the sector, while high profile cases of abuse spurn public outrage.
Among them; Sydney's Bupa Seaforth which made headlines in September after one of its workers allegedly assaulted an 82-year-old resident with a shoe.
It had Commonwealth funding suspended in October after it failed to meet more than 30 of 44 outcomes in an audit.
The prime minister said he could not ignore the alarming number of aged care operators "flouting the law and putting lives at risk".
Nationally, there was an 177 per cent increase in the number of aged care homes where a serious risk to residents was identified in the last financial year, recent government figures say.
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