One year since the Royal Commission, aged care sector calls on parties to take action on workforce

Anglicare Australia, as part of the Australian Aged Care Collaboration, is calling for action on workforce issues ahead of the next election. The call comes on the one year anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Royal Commission final report, handed down one year ago, presented us with a once-in-generation opportunity to overhaul aged care so that we can give older Australians the care and respect they need and deserve.

It is clear that there is still so much work that needs to be done, and prioritised, to solve the key structural issues identified by the Royal Commission.
While the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) welcomed the response by the federal government in the May Budget in 2021, we have not seen a detailed plan to consult and deliver on the announced reforms.

Modelling for the Royal Commission also shows that, after so many years of underfunding, the announced investments will fall short of what is needed.

The Royal Commission’s workforce recommendations are the key area of unfinished business.

Since the start of the pandemic, aged care workers have gone above and beyond to deliver care. They have been on the frontline of the response, keeping people as safe as they could in uncertain times.

They should be getting the pay they deserve and career certainty. The Royal Commission recognised this. It called for higher wages, better qualifications, and more time for workers to spend with older people.

As we approach the 2022 federal election, the Government and Opposition have both so far failed to commitment to fully implement and fund the Royal Commission’s workforce recommendations.

Today, the AACC is marking the anniversary of the Royal Commission by asking all parties and independent candidates to join representatives of older people and their carers, providers, unions, and health professionals in a partnership to support the aged care workforce.
In line with this partnership, the AACC is calling for:

  1. A Workforce Partnership Supplement for providers to spend immediately on increasing wages, training, minutes of care, 24-hour nursing and COVID-19 prevention and workforce retention costs.
  2. A minimum wage increase for aged care workers by funding the Fair Work Commission Work Value Case, and award wage increases from July 2022.
  3. A commitment to a multidisciplinary workforce by putting in place an allied health needs assessment and funding model by July 2024.

Without immediate changes to better support the workforce, the aged care sector won’t be able to recover from the current crisis. Quality of care for older Australians will suffer further.

It’s time to make sure that older Australians get the care they deserve, once and for all.

About the Australian Aged Care Collaboration

The AACC is a group of six aged care peak bodies: Aged and Community Services Australia, Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, and UnitingCare Australia. Together, the AACC represents more than 1,000 organisations who deliver 70 percent of aged care services to 1.3 million Australians, either in their own homes or in communal residential settings.