ACAR to open July 2

The following provides a short summary of communication from the Department of Health regarding this years’ Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR)[1]. The 2018-19 ACAR will open on 2 July 2018 and close 10 August 2018; and approximately eight months later the results will be announced. The information below is related to residential aged care places only; more information on Short Term Restorative Care places and Capital Grants can be found on the department’s website.

Distribution and targeting information will be available on the department’s website when the ACAR opens, however in the meantime the expected residential aged care places available for allocation in each state and territory are as follows:

Allocation year NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS ACT NT Total
2018-19 3,349 1,415 4,289 3,295 431 212 360 149 13,500

Please note: the department does not guarantee that the exact number of places will be allocated to each state and territory.  The final allocation of places will reflect the best use of all of the available places, based upon the applications received and outcomes of the overall assessment process.

How place allocation is determined

The number of new places made available for allocation is influenced by:

  • the aged care provision ratio
  • population projections, and
  • current levels of service provision, including newly allocated places not yet operational.

The department also sought input from a range of aged care stakeholders to ensure new residential care places are located where they are most needed, particularly in respect to specific geographic locations, special needs and other key issue groups.

priority to rural, regional and remote

The department will give priority to applications for services located in regional, rural and remote areas.  These areas comprise inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote locations, as set out in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure.

Suitable applications in regional, rural and remote areas will be considered and allocated places and/or capital grants before metropolitan areas.

That said, in keeping with the demographic split of the Australian population (roughly 70% metropolitan, 30% regional, rural and remote), it is anticipated that the majority of residential places available will still be allocated within metropolitan areas.

Allocation year NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS ACT NT Total
70% Metro 2,344 990 3,002 2,306 301 148 252 104 9,450
30% RRR 1,005 425 1,983 989 130 64 108 45 4,050
Total 2018-19 3,349 1,415 4,289 3,295 431 212 360 149 13,500


Under the provisions set out in the Act, the Secretary must allocate new residential and flexible care places in a manner which best meets the needs of the aged care community.  While applicants are expected meet suitability thresholds, the primary consideration of the assessment and recommendation processes is to ensure, where possible, that residential care and STRC places are allocated in areas of highest need.

Depending on the location for an organisation’s service proposal, providers will need to demonstrate an understanding of how need is currently being addressed.

Those applying in areas with a limited need for additional aged care places, e.g. well supplied metropolitan or inner regional locations, should consider themselves to have a reduced likelihood of approval. Many metropolitan areas are well stocked with residential care places, both operational and allocated compared to non-metropolitan areas.  Applications that meet the required standard in areas of high need will likely be prioritised over applications in areas that are well supplied.

When considering need within metropolitan locations, applicants are advised to consider:

  • where will the proposed service be located?
  • what is the proximity to other services?
  • are there any established links with other aged care services delivered in the area?
  • will the proposal help the community by filling a known service gap?
  • would the proposed service be viable both in the short, medium and long term?
  • will the proposed service offer Special Needs Group and/or Key Issue targeting not already catered for in the general service catchment area?
  • will the proposed service provide innovative building design, service delivery and experience for potential care recipients and their families?

In order to put forward a compelling argument Ideal has always stated that evidence is key. Strong local connections and an understanding of community need is essential in ensuring the right services are delivered in the right locations.

All the best with your applications.