The federal government has failed to prioritise the plight of younger people stuck in aged care after decades of "empty rhetoric and blame shifting", royal commission lawyers say.
The shocking cases of people as young as 21 ending up in nursing homes and losing all hope must stop, the aged care inquiry's team of lawyers said.
"It simply cannot go on," counsel assisting the commission Richard Knowles said on Friday.
Mr Knowles accused the federal government of showing a distinct lack of leadership on the issue, despite having ownership of the policy and funding mechanisms that underpin it.
As the government announced it would extend the commission by six months, Mr Knowles said its action plan does not do enough, soon enough, and only reaches those who are eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Urgent policy and service gaps had to be addressed, calling for a committed effort from state, territory and federal governments involving health, disability, aged care and social services.
"It requires fresh thinking, dedicated resources and strong will," Mr Knowles said.
"It requires an end to decades of empty rhetoric and blame shifting."
He said much remained unknown about the people under 65 with disabilities or medical conditions in aged care, despite a 2015 Senate committee's call for a database.
"This demonstrates that government has failed to prioritise younger people in aged care, despite policy rhetoric that it will do so," he said.
The federal government's March action plan aims to support the 6000 younger people in nursing homes to find alternative housing by 2025 and to halve the number - currently 2000 a year - entering aged care.
In contrast, the inquiry's lawyers backed demands that no younger people should be entering aged care by 2022 - and that none should be in aged care at all by 2025.
Mr Knowles said the government's plan seemed to accept that 1000 younger people will still enter aged care every year, which was simply not acceptable.
He said it appeared unlikely to reach even its modest goals, noting it relied on the success of new specialist disability accommodation through the NDIS when the market had been slow to take up the opportunity.
Mr Knowles said on its face, the plan would not help the younger people in aged care who were ineligible for NDIS supports, such as those who had cancer but no disability.
Young People In Nursing Homes National Alliance director Bronwyn Morkham dismissed the initiative as a "Clayton's action plan".
"We've got an action plan you have when you don't have a plan at all really - no funding, no measurement, no real targets, nothing in there to say there's a desire to do anything immediately whatsoever," she said.
Commissioner Lynelle Briggs this week declared young people should not be in aged care, labelling the system a national disgrace and embarrassment and flagging strong recommendations on the issue.
The government on Friday added an additional commissioner, former federal court judge Tony Pagone QC, and agreed to the commission's request for an extension from April to October next year.