Patricia Ranald, honorary research associate at the University of Sydney, explores the impact the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement could have on tightening regulations relating to aged care in this piece for the Australian edition of The Conversation.
Australia included in an annex to the agreement a list of services that are specifically exempted, being “the specific sectors and sub sectors or activities for which Australia may maintain existing, or adopt new or more restrictive, measures”.
The list includes income security or insurance, social security or insurance, social welfare, public education, public training, health, childcare, public utilities, public transport and public housing. It does not include aged care.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety exposed multiple scandals caused by a lack of qualified staff and poor quality care, and recommended increases in staffing levels, increases in qualifications of staff and changes to licensing arrangements.
These are the types of tighter regulations the agreement could prevent, unless aged care is specifically exempted.