The latest report on the Australian aged care sector has underscored the pressing need for workforce reform, as emphasized by Tom Symondson, CEO of the Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA). The report, titled “Duty of Care: Aged-care sector running on empty,” was published today by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).
The CEDA report highlights the immense economic strain faced by the aged care sector, compounded by severe staff shortages that have led to facility closures. The report points to a projected shortfall of at least 110,000 direct-care workers by 2030, underscoring the critical need for government and industry collaboration to address this workforce gap.
To address the staffing crisis, the report recommends the introduction of an Essential Skills Visa to attract overseas workers and suggests accommodation support as part of the solution. These proposals align with the ongoing efforts of industry advocates, including ACCPA, who have been advocating for improved access to education, housing for care staff, smoother migration routes for foreign workers, and targeted workforce programs.
The report also acknowledges the importance of government-mandated care minutes and around-the-clock registered nurses, but it recognizes the challenges they pose for service providers. It calls for a closer examination of the disconnect between legislative requirements and the practical realities on the ground.
Aged care providers are already grappling with unsustainable financial stress, with over half of them operating at a loss. The report recommends a reevaluation of funding arrangements in the sector, encouraging self-funding and user contributions while ensuring that government funding continues to support those who cannot afford their care.
Tom Symondson, a member of the Government’s Aged Care Taskforce, emphasized the significance of the Taskforce’s work in light of the CEDA report. The Taskforce is committed to finding solutions to the aged care funding crisis and is engaging in a comprehensive discussion about future funding approaches.
Symondson stressed that the time for action is now, with the aging population creating increasing demand for aged care services. The industry seeks to build a sector that all Australians can take pride in, one that is not only fit for the present but also for the future, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of older Australians.
Media contact: Peter O’Dempsey 0499 106 957 or [email protected]