18 May 2022
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) says evidence is mounting that shows the dire situation facing aged care continues to worsen, with the release of new financial analysis from UTS and further reports of workforce and service availability gaps.
The next government must take immediate and ambitious action to resolve the dire situation plaguing Australia’s aged care sector.
This comes as more and more aged care facilities in regional and remote communities are being forced to scale back or close, worsening the lack of availability of care for older Australians in their home communities.
Throughout the pandemic, major red flags signifying compounding issues in the sector have continuously become apparent, including closures, workforce shortages, and issues in paying staff proper wages.
A new report from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has found that more than 60 per cent of residential aged care homes are operating at a loss, and 26 per cent of home care services are experiencing decreased financial performance compared to last year.
This ongoing financial pressure on aged care services constrains their ability to consistently meet the needs of older Australians relying upon them for care and support. In some cases, this results in older Australians missing out on much needed care, including when services have to close their doors completely.
There have been medium term commitments to improve staffing and pay from the major parties, though the Coalition has failed to make clear funding commitments, as outlined in AACC’s election scorecard.
However, no party has clearly committed to the immediate action the sector needs to cover the current gaps in resourcing.
The next government will be inheriting a system in crisis. We need emergency investment alongside positive long-term reform of Australia’s aged care system to make sure older people receive the care they deserve.
That is why the AACC is asking all political parties to commit to:
- A Workforce Partnership Supplement to spend on boosting wages, training, minutes of care, 24-hour nursing, COVID-19 prevention and workforce retention costs.
- A minimum wage increase for aged care workers by funding the Fair Work Commission Work Value Case, and award wage increases from July 2022.
- A commitment to a multidisciplinary workforce by putting in place an allied health needs assessment and funding model by July 2024.
We must not allow things to continue as they are.