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Explore services and places in aged care

This page has been updated with the latest data available at 30 June 2018. You can download data directly from the visualisations by clicking in the graph area and using the 'download' menu. 

On this page you can find out more about the aged care system in Australia, such as where services in different programs are located, and how places in residential aged care and flexible care are distributed across Australia.
Home care is no longer attached to a place in a particular service, and from 2017 onwards places data is no longer available for this type of care. To find out more about the delivery of home care, see the quarterly Home Care Packages Program data reports.

Residential aged care services are concentrated in Australia’s urban areas

The map below shows residential aged care services in Australia. The size of the circle reflects the size of the service, with a larger circle representing facilities with more places.

The colour of the circle indicates the type of organisation that manages the service.

  • Services run by private companies are concentrated in major cities
  • Rural and remote regions of Australia only have residential services managed by government and not-for-profit organisations.
A map of Australia that shows where government, not-for-profit and privately managed residential care services are located across Australia. Most residential aged care services are located in the urban areas of Australia. This is particularly the case for privately managed services. Services run by not-for-profit organisations are more likely to be located in rural areas.

On 30 June 2018, more than half (58%) of mainstream residential aged care services were run by not-for-profit organisations, with for-profit organisations accounting for 34%, and the remainder managed by governments.

The type of organisation differs by remoteness:

  • On 30 June 2018, 45% of residential services located in Major cities were managed by private organisations. Only 2% of services in these urban areas were managed by governments.
  • With increasing remoteness, the proportion of services managed by private organisations decreases. There were no privately-managed services in Remote and Very remote regions of Australia. Government organisations managed almost 1 in 4 services in those areas (23%).
  • Not-for-profit organisations managed a significant proportion of the aged care services in all regions of Australia.
A stacked bar graph shows which organisation types provide residential aged care services by remoteness. Not-for-profit organisations manage a large proportion of services in all regions, from 53% of services in Major cities to 77% of services in Remote and Very remote regions. Private organisations are more likely to manage services in urban areas, where government organisations are only 2%. Outside of Major cities government organisations become more prominent.

States and territories with more places in aged care services do not necessarily have more capacity 

On 30 June 2018, Australia had over 216,000 places in residential aged care and flexible care. This included those places that people were currently using, as well as those that were available to people but not in use. The number of places in aged care has increased over time.

In February 2017, consumer-directed care was introduced for home care, meaning that government funding is no longer attached to a place in a particular service. People must still be approved to receive home care, but they decide how to use the funding. As a result, from 2017 onwards, places information is only available for residential-based care and flexible care. Home support also provides services to a large number of people—more than 780,000 in 2017–18—but as a grants-based program, information on ‘places’ is not available for reporting.

Highly-populated states and territories have larger numbers of aged care places; however, the aged care system is designed to provide capacity for the population who might need those services. This is achieved through a ratio of subsidised aged care places for every 1,000 people aged 70 years and over, which is an estimate for the demand for aged care. The national target provision ratio was 79.2 aged care places at 30 June 2018 (now excluding mainstream home care). This target is made up of 75.9 residential places per 1,000 people and 3.3 flexible care places per 1,000 people.

  • The ratio for residential aged care places varies somewhat between states and territories, from 46 in the Northern Territory to 80 in South Australia. 
  • The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program is a prominent part of aged care service provision in the Northern Territory, bringing an additional 31places per 1,000 older people.
  • Transition care places have remained at around 4,000 places nationally since 2012. The short-term restorative care program began in 2017 to extend transition care services to anyone needing short-term care to improve their independence (rather than just for people leaving hospital). Since then, there have been 475 places allocated around Australia. 
  • In residential care, places managed by private organisations have seen the most growth. Between 2012 and 2018, private organisations have seen a 27% increase in the number of residential aged care places that they are funded to deliver. Government-managed residential places have decreased by 19% over the same period. Residential aged care places managed by not-for-profit organisations have seen a smaller increase of 7%.
A stacked bar graph shows the number of aged care places and the places per 1,000 people in the target population, for each program type and state. The graph allows the user to filter the data by year (2012–2018), program type, and organisation type. The Northern Territory has more places per 1,000 people in the target population than the other states throughout 2012–2018, particularly when filtered to just show the National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.

Large residential services tend to be managed by private organisations

Privately-run residential aged care places are more likely to be delivered in larger services, while government-run services tend to be smaller:

  •  More than half (53%) of places operated by private companies were in a service that offered 101 or more places, compared with 40% of places managed by not-for-profit organisations and 13% of places managed by government organisations.
  • Only 0.04% of places managed by private companies and less than 1% of places operated by not-for-profit organisations were in the smallest facilities (20 or fewer places). In contrast, 13% of places operated by government organisations were in these small services.

Residential care places in Major cities are more likely to be in large services. With increasing remoteness, aged care services are more likely to offer a smaller number of places.

A stacked bar graph shows the proportion of places in residential aged care by the type of organisation and the size of the service. Places provided by private organisations are more likely to be found in the largest category of services (over 100 places). Places in services managed by government organisations tend to be found in smaller services. This pattern is seen across all remoteness areas, except for remote and very remote areas, where there are no private places in residential aged care.

Explore how places in residential aged care and flexible care are distributed among Aged Care Planning Regions, Primary Health Networks, and SA3s

Some notable patterns in the geographical distribution of residential and flexible care places include:

  • Places per 1,000 of the target population were distributed across PHN’s broadly in line with the target ratio (79.9 for all aged care places).
  • Government-managed residential aged care places are particularly concentrated in Victoria (outside of Melbourne) and rural or regional areas of New South Wales and Queensland. Residential places managed by not-for-profit organisations are more prominent in the South-Eastern corner of Australia.
A map of Australia shows the number of aged care places and the number of places per 1,000 people in the target population by various geographies. The geographies provided are: Aged Care Planning Regions, Primary Health Networks and Statistical Area 3.