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Costello to appear at aged care inquiry

Former treasurer Peter Costello is set to speak about long-term reforms needed to support aged care at a royal commission hearing probing the sector.

The seven-day hearing is examining how aged care is funded and whether improvements can be made to financial models and regulation.

Mr Costello, who was in charge of the nation’s books from 1996-2007 and is the country’s longest-serving treasurer, is expected to give evidence on Wednesday.

Former treasury secretary Ken Henry, who worked under the John Howard and Kevin Rudd governments, will speak about options to reform aged care.

On Monday, former Labor prime minister Paul Keating proposed a HECS-style scheme to fund aged care for people in their home.

He told the commission the model could help reduce wait times for home care packages and ease financial burdens on families.

Mr Keating said people would be given federal loans for their care, which would then be repaid from their assets once they die.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety heard on Monday that residential care providers receive $11.7 billion a year in Commonwealth subsidies and about $12.4 billion in overall revenue, including residents’ contributions.

But counsel assisting the commission, Peter Gray QC, said reporting requirements meant residential providers aren’t adequately revealing how they spend the money.

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