Aged care


The content on this page is currently under review...

  • visit the Aged Care Reform section of the Department of Social Services website for the latest updates.


Residential aged care is a large and complex industry that is subject to a high level of regulation principally by the Commonwealth Government, which has responsibility for funding, regulation and planning of residential aged care places under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cwth). The Act is administered by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services.

  • see the Ageing and Aged Care section of the Department of Social Services website for further information.
  • see the Guide to Aged Care Law on the Guides to Social Policy Law website for an overview of the legislation covering the aged care sector.

The special needs of older Victorians may be met through services provided by Not For Profit organisations. The Victorian Department of Health (DoH) website has an overview of the range of community and residential aged care services available.

Residential aged care services

Residential or aged care services provide accommodation, personal and nursing care and social activities for older people with either high (nursing home) or low (hostel) care needs who can no longer live independently in their own home. Eligibility for residential aged care is determined by local Aged Care Assessment Services.

Serving alcohol

Not For Profit organisations operating a residential aged care facility do not need a license to serve alcohol providing that the following conditions are met:

  • The liquor is not served to a minor;
  • The liquor was purchased on a retail basis; and
  • No more than 2 standard drinks are supplied to each recipient on any one day.
  • see the Minor business exemption page on the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) website for further information.

Monitoring of service providers

All residential aged care services are required to meet the Quality Agency Principles. The monitoring of these standards is overseen by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

Services must provide high quality care to every resident, and make sure they have qualified staff to meet residents' needs. The Department of Social Services can take action if it finds that standards of care, services and accommodation are not met.

In addition, residential aged care providers are also required to comply with a range of State-based regulations in delivering care to older people including:

  • Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)
  • Food Act 1984 (Vic).


Approximately 70 per cent of the total funding for residential aged care is provided by the Commonwealth Government paid directly to the providers. While most of the funding comes via the Department of Health and Ageing, residential aged care for veterans is also funded by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

In addition to Government funds, residents make a contribution to the cost of their care and accommodation, with legislation regulating the maximum fees a provider can ask a resident to pay.

Aged Care Funding Instrument

The Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) is the means by which funding is allocated to residential aged care providers. This funding is based on the level of care required by residents.

When things go wrong

The Aged Care Compliants Commissioner provides a free service for anyone to raise a complaint or concern about the quality of aged care services subsidised by the Commonwealth Government. The Commissioner's role is to both resolve complaints, and to educate people and providers about the handling of complaints and issues.

Further Information

  • for information about managing your organisation, including meetings and other constitutional obligations.

  • for information about managing your organisation's finances, including financial records and reporting.

  • for information on managing staff, volunteers and contractors in your organisation, including workplace health and safety.

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