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SA Govt to spend millions on response to aged care royal commission

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Attorney-General Vickie Chapman will today announce her department will spend $3.2 million to coordinate the State Government’s response to the ongoing aged care royal commission.

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The funding package, to be allocated over two years, will be provided to a royal commission “central response unit” within the Attorney-General’s Department, which has been tasked with providing legal advice and representation for government agencies during the inquiry’s proceedings.

The unit was established before hearings began in Adelaide late last month using existing funding from the Attorney-General Department’s budget.

But Chapman said the $3.2 million in additional funding was required to ensure government agencies provided more “consistent, accurate and relevant” information to the commission.

She said the central response unit would help cut red tape by coordinating a “whole of government” response.

“Over the coming months it is expected the royal commission will seek further evidence form multiple SA Government agencies and sites,” Chapman said.

“The establishment of the response unit will ensure that consistent, accurate and relevant information is provided from all South Australian Government agencies and facilities in a timely manner to the royal commission.

“The work of this royal commission is far too important to the families and recipients of aged care services and to the broader community to be held up by red tape and so the South Australian Government is putting measures in place to ensure we support the work of the royal commission.”

The Federal Government established the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in October last year after the ABC aired a number of abuse, and multiple inquiries into inappropriately restrained residents, overdosed patients and resourcing concerns at the now-closed Oakden aged care facility in Adelaide.

Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander’s damning report into Oakden, published in February last year, found the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network responsible for the facility engaged in maladministration.

The royal commission’s hearings began in Adelaide in January and continue this week, with today’s hearing expected to hear from aged-care providers and Dementia Australia chief executive Maree McCabe, who will call for mandatory dementia education for aged-care workers.

The commission will also hold hearings in other capital cities and some regional locations.

Chapman said today that the State Government was committed to working closely with the royal commission.

“It is important that we all work together so that the experiences of the Oakden families are never repeated,” she said.

– with AAP

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