The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in Australia has documented systemic failures and shocking incidences of abuse and neglect, a not uncommon story internationally. As aged care in many countries is predominantly publicly funded, it is important to understand the general public's attitudes towards aged care quality, what aspects of care quality they think are most important and their willingness to contribute to increased funding to the sector. This paper asks specifically whether self-reported aged care literacy impacts expectations and willingness to pay. More than 10,000 members of the general population were surveyed stratified by age, gender and state. Regardless of the level of aged care literacy, there was consensus about what constitutes quality care, and care priorities for the sector. However, aged care literacy affected willingness to pay to fund a better-quality aged care system. The current crisis facing Australia's aged care system and that of many other countries internationally demonstrates the central importance of general public support to drive quality improvements, recognising that increasing public expenditure on aged care is a necessary part of the solution. This study provides important baseline data from which to commence national and international conversations to consider all options for ensuring the quality, safety and sustainability of aged care now and into the future.