More than 6,100 older Australians will live independently for longer following a $325.7 million investment in new home care packages by the Morrison Government. The extra 6,105 home care packages brings the total number of additional packages to over 50,000 since the 18-19 Budget, at a cost of more than $3 billion. Home care package numbers will increase to 164,135 in 2022-23 - up more than 170 per cent since Labor were last in office - with funding increasing by 258 per cent due to growth in high-level packages. Following a request from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Federal Government has agreed to extend its reporting period for a further three and a half months due to the impact of COVID-19. The Commission will now deliver its final report by 26 February, 2021. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government remained focused on the needs of older Australians, particularly as the country battled the impacts of COVID-19. “Our number one priority for older Australians is to keep people safe and healthy and to live independently,” the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister said the suspension of Royal Commission hearings had reduced the ability to engage with stakeholders at the height of the pandemic. “While these delays are have been caused by unprecedented circumstances, we’re committed to ensuring the Royal Commission has the time and resources it needs to do its important work.” As part of its inquiry, the Royal Commission has recently announced it will examine the impact of the virus on residential aged care and home care, including responses from the sector and governments. Minister Hunt said it would serve as an important review. “This further investment in home care supports our senior Australians who are seeking assistance to stay longer in their homes,” Minister Hunt said. “The extension of the Royal Commission is in response to the delays due to COVID-19 and the opportunity for the Commission to inquire into the impact of the pandemic on aged care.” Minister Colbeck said the latest investment of $325.7 million toward 6,105 home care packages was another step toward reducing wait times and connecting more senior Australians to essential care sooner. “We remain focused on ensuring the health and wellbeing of those people we love most,” Minister Colbeck said. “From additional home care packages, to improvements to medication management, additional dementia training support for workers and funding to ensure younger people can move to more age-appropriate support – the Federal Government continues to prioritise the needs of senior Australians. “We look forward to receiving the Royal Commission’s final report. The Government will carefully consider the Commissioners’ recommendations.” As part of the extension, the Hon Tony Pagone QC will be formally appointed as the Chair of the Royal Commission. Commissioner Pagone has been acting in the role since late 2019, following the death of the Honourable Richard Ross Sinclair Tracey AM RFD QC.