The terms of reference for the Royal Commission are included in the Letters Patent, which the Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia signed on 6 December 2018, and which the Governor-General amended by Letters Patent on 13 September 2019.
The Commissioners were appointed to be a Commission of inquiry, and required and authorised to inquire into the following matters:
- the quality of aged care services provided to Australians, the extent to which those services meet the needs of the people accessing them, the extent of substandard care being provided, including mistreatment and all forms of abuse, the causes of any systemic failures, and any actions that should be taken in response;
- how best to deliver aged care services to:
- people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities, including younger people; and
- the increasing number of Australians living with dementia, having regard to the importance of dementia care for the future of aged care services;
- the future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services in Australia, including:
- in the context of changing demographics and preferences, in particular people's desire to remain living at home as they age; and
- in remote, rural and regional Australia;
- what the Australian Government, aged care industry, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen the system of aged care services to ensure that the services provided are of high quality and safe;
- how to ensure that aged care services are person‑centred, including through allowing people to exercise greater choice, control and independence in relation to their care, and improving engagement with families and carers on care‑related matters;
- how best to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way, including through innovative models of care, increased use of technology, and investment in the aged care workforce and capital infrastructure;
- any matter reasonably incidental to a matter referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f) or that [the Commissioners] believe is reasonably relevant to the inquiry.