Postprint of: Hughes, M 2011, 'The Productivity Commission inquiry into aged care: a critical review', Australian Social Work, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 526-536.
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The final report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Aged Care has recommended a substantial restructuring of Australia's aged care system to make it fairer, more responsive to the needs of individual consumers, and more sustainable in the context of population ageing. While acknowledging the necessity of a safety net and the needs of diverse groups, the recommended reforms continue to advance the neoliberal restructuring of Australia's health and welfare systems. This paper provides a critical examination of the context and key drivers for change, and considers the reception of the report within the aged care sector. While social workers are actively engaged in the aged care system, they are largely absent from the discussion in the final report. Nonetheless, the transfer of recommendations into actual policy provides an opportunity for social work to argue its unique contribution and potential in the delivery of aged care.