Urgent action needed as aged care workforce shortage worsens – CEDA Report

Release date: 28 Jun 2022


The need for urgent action to fix the aged care sector’s workforce crisis is greater than ever with a new Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) report showing the annual worker shortage faced by providers has doubled to 35,000 mainly because of the pandemic.

Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) Interim CEO Paul Sadler said the figures were alarming but not unexpected with the CEDA report, Duty of Care: Aged Care sector in crisis, finding that 65,000 workers are leaving the sector each year.

“We believe the shortage could be even worse. CEDA says an additional 8,000 workers are needed to meet the new mandated minimum minutes of care for each resident in care; we believe it could be closer to 20,000,” Mr Sadler said.

“The new federal government will have difficulty achieving its aged care policy priorities of Registered Nurses in aged care homes 24/7 and minimum care minutes without immediate action.

“The pandemic has taken its toll on the aged care sector with thousands of staff leaving or planning to leave due to low pay, burnout or simply finding better job opportunities. The CEDA report highlights the need for urgent action to ensure older Australians do not miss out on care and support.

“Funding is a key issue. We welcome the government’s commitment to fund a pay increase for aged care workers arising from the Fair Work Commission work value case due later this year or early next year.

“The government is expected to announce this week the indexation figure for 2022-23 which will tell us how much subsidies paid to providers to provide aged care will increase in the coming year.

“The former government rejected a Royal Commission recommendation to raise the level of indexation of subsidies for providers. Indexation for 2021-22 was 1.1 per cent compared to last year’s 2.5 per cent Award wage increase and 0.5 per cent Superannuation Guarantee increase.

“Unfortunately, it’s possible there will be an even bigger gap this year between the increase in wage costs and indexation which has been inadequate over many years,” Mr Sadler said.

“The Royal Commission recommended the government take short-term measures to address the funding shortfall until the recommended independent pricing authority of aged care services is established.”

Mr Sadler said ACCPA is engaging with the government to examine ways to progress aged care reform and more specifically how aged care can be made a more attractive career. Options for consideration ACCPA plans to raise include:

  • Higher pay so that casual and part-time staff work more hours

  • Ensure aged care facilities are better staffed

  • Improve working conditions with access to child care

  • Support professional development of the personal carer role

  • Improved training and staff development

  • Greater skilled migration.

CEDA report, Duty of Care: Aged Care sector in crisis, available here

Media contact: Kate Hannon 0499 106 957 or Jane Garcia (Essential) 0455 111 593 

About Aged & Community Care Providers Association:
ACCPA is the national association for all providers of aged and community care in Australia from 1 July 2022. It unites the aged care sector’s two largest organisations, Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), for a stronger voice for aged care providers.

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia

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