What is the Aged Care Approvals Round?
The Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) is a competitive application process that enables prospective and existing approved providers of aged care to apply for a range of new Australian Government funded aged care places and financial assistance in the form of a capital grant.
The Australian Government is committed to providing a sustainable system that supports older people who need care. Australia’s population is rapidly ageing and each year new aged care places are made available for allocation in each state and territory.
The process for planning the annual allocation and distribution of new aged care places is set out in the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act). The ACAR implements the requirements of the Act and operates in accordance with:
- Part 2.2 of the Act and Aged Care Principles – for residential aged care places and Short-Term Restorative Care places
- Part 5 of the Act and the Aged Care Principles – for capital grants.
The broad objectives of the process are to identify community needs, including people with special needs, and to allocate places in a way that best meets the identified aged care needs of the community.
The Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) process enables new and existing approved providers of aged care to apply for new subsidised aged care places and Australian Government aged care funding (in the form of capital grants) in an open, competitive and equitable way.
What is the general criteria?
The majority of the care recipients who receive a grant are related to:
- supported residents, concessional residents or assisted residents
- people with special needs
- low‑means care recipients
- people who live in a location where there is a demonstrated need for additional residential care services
- people who do not live in a major city
You will also need to prove you:
- have ongoing financial and organisational viability
- do not have the capacity to fund all or part of the project
- are not a State or Territory or an authority of a State or Territory
- have a very good record, or a demonstrated commitment to improvement in aged care
- have not stated any project work
Tips to get the ACAR grant
The things to focus on are:
- Residents – the proportion of care recipients who are concessional residents, assisted residents, special needs, low‑means care
- Location – located outside a major city.
- Availability – the availability of other aged care services in the area
- Need – identify the need to establish or upgrade the facility
- Timeliness – whether there is an urgent need for the grant due to unforeseen circumstances
- Dementia – whether the project will focus on the needs care recipients living with dementia
- Quality – whether the project will provide high quality accommodation for care recipients
- Efficiency – whether the project will provide significantly improved operational efficiency
- Project Arrangements – the adequacy of any arrangements proposed for the care of care recipients and other residents while the project is being completed.
- Value for Money – projects that offer the Commonwealth best value for money compared with other projects for which applications for the allocation of residential care grants have been made.
Eligibility requirements for the different care types and capital grants available through an ACAR are set out below. Prospective applicants are required to consider the requirements set out below and in the ITA and determine their own eligibility. The department conducts a threshold eligibility assessment following the closure of the application period and, if needed, advise ineligible applicants after this time.
The eligibility requirements for residential care places, capit grants and STRC places differ from each other. Applicants are required to understand the eligibility requirements relating to their proposal(s). Failure to comply with the eligibility requirements set out below and in the relevantlegislation will result in applications being deemed ineligible.
Eligibility for residential care places
In order to receive an allocation of residential care places, applicants must be:
- approved to provide residential care under the Act.
Eligibility for capital grants
In order to receive a capital grant, applicants must:
- be incorporated
- be approved to provide residential care under the Act
- not be a state or territory government or an authority of a state or territory government
- not hold a grant of Extra Service Status (ESS) at the service to which the application for a residential care grant relates
- be able to prove you cannot fund all of the capital works, including through debt funding. If you are part of a parent organisation, this includes that your parent organisation does not have the capacity to fund the works
- be the Approved Provider of the service to which the capital grant application relates
- hold an allocation, or be applying for an allocation, of residential care places at the service which is seeking a capital grant
- not be applying in regard to a project where capital works have already been contracted, or commenced, or completed.
Eligibility for STRC places
In order to receive an allocation of STRC places, applicants must be:
- approved to provide flexible care under the Act.
The 2020 Aged Care Approvals Round has been postponed until at least September 2020, so providers can focus on helping to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Department of Health will work with aged care peak bodies and other key stakeholders to decide on the exact timing.
The 2020 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) will offer at least:
- 10,000 residential aged care places
- 750 short-term restorative care places
- up to $60 million in capital grants for residential aged care