Strengthening protections for older Australians report

The Federal Government has released a new report detailing options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme for aged care, including findings that a broader range of incidents should be reported.


The report, Strengthening protections for older Australians - Development of models and options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme for Commonwealth-funded aged care service providers is available at the Department of Health's website. The report was prepared by KPMG.


Options canvassed of what should be considered a reportable incident include: physical, sexual or financial abuse; seriously inappropriate, improper, inhumane or cruel treatment, and neglect.


Specifically, the five options canvassed for a Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) in the report include:

  • Option 1: no change to the current arrangements.
  • Option 2: developing guidance material to better enforce the current arrangements.
  • Option 3: introducing a reportable conduct scheme requiring all aged care service providers to report abuse or neglect by a staff member against a consumer.
  • Option 4: expanding Option 3 to include unexplained serious injury in residential aged care as a serious incident.
  • Option 5: expanding Option 3 to include aggression and abuse between consumers in residential aged care settings as a serious incident.

The report also found the current exemptions for reporting resident-on-resident assaults may not be effective in ensuring an abuse-free environment for aged care recipients.


The report recommends the new scheme should be overseen by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.


The recommendation to develop a Serious Incident Response Scheme was in the Carnell-Paterson Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes 2017.


The Government committed through the 2017-18 Budget to develop options for such a scheme and engaged KPMG to complete the development of models and options.


More than 130 aged care sector stakeholders, with representatives from consumer advocate groups, approved providers and the aged care workforce, participated in consultations during the development of the report.


This report is another step in building better guidelines and standards of care that will ultimately provide safer environments for senior Australians accessing Australian Government-subsidised aged care services, including those living in residential aged care.


The Government will respond to proposed options in the report in the near future.


See the report at


29 March 2019.