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A New Aged Care Act for Australia? Examining the Royal Commission’s Proposal for Human Rights Inclusive Legislation


Anita Mackay, Laura Grenfell and Julie Debeljak

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (‘RCAC’) revealed that abuse and neglect are widespread in residential aged care facilities (‘RACF’). In 2021, the RCAC’s Final Report recommended that a new Aged Care Act be enacted to replace the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth), and the new Act explicitly protect the rights of RACF residents. The recommendation included five uniquely formulated rights to be protected, drawing on international human rights law. This article aims to ensure that the new Act adequately respects, protects and fulfils the rights of RACF residents. This article explores the deficiencies in the current regulatory scheme, documenting the significant opportunity for improvement that rights-based legislation represents. It critiques the five RCAC-formulated rights, analysing the source of the rights within international treaties, and the scope of those rights. The article concludes by evaluating the proposed enforcement mechanisms for the RCAC-formulated rights against international enforcement obligations.

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