Wednesday 8 August 2012

Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, today released the Australian Human Rights Commission’s paper, Respect and choice: A human rights approach for ageing and health.

“Australia’s health system and aged care sectors are about to expand dramatically, to take account of the longer lives we are living,” said Commissioner Ryan.

“Our position paper outlines a human rights approach for the implementation the federal government’s new aged care reform package, Living Longer Living Better.

While welcoming this new package with its increases in assistance, particularly for home based care, Commissioner Ryan said it was important that these new arrangements were built on a human rights approach.

“By adopting a human rights approach, we will be able to expect services that are available, accessible, appropriate and of good quality,” Commissioner Ryan said. “We also want to see effective monitoring mechanisms and ensure accountability.”

“Put simply, we are talking about ensuring that older people have choices in care, are provided with information about what is happening to them and have their privacy protected,” Commissioner Ryan said. “Whether care is being provided at home or in residential facilities, providers need training that creates respect for the religious choices, sexual orientation and cultural backgrounds of the older people in their care.”

The approach adopted in the Respect and choice paper reflects that developed by the United Nations Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights in General Comment No. 14 - ‘The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’.

The Respect and choice paper is available on the Australian Human Rights Commission’s website at:

Media contact: Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529

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