Media Release: Aged Care Targets Thwarted by Unaddressed Workforce Crisis

Data released by the Department of Health and Aged Care this week has proven that aged care homes are struggling to meet the Albanese Labor Government’s staffing requirements as the severe workforce crisis remains unaddressed.

During October-December 2023, 68% of aged care homes were unable to meet the Government’s new rules, which require each resident to receive 200 care minutes per day including 40 care minutes from a registered nurses.

This comes after it was revealed that there is a workforce shortfall of almost 6,000 nurses, who are needed in the sector before October when even further staffing requirements come into effect.

Progress on addressing this shortfall has been almost non-existent, with the sector gaining only 44 new nurses during the last quarter.

The Coalition welcomes the increase in care minutes that has been achieved over the last quarter, but it is clear that the Albanese Government is failing to support the sector with the clear and significant challenges they face.

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Anne Ruston expressed concern that more than half of Australia’s aged care homes were not able to meet the current requirements, at a time when even more mandated care minutes are coming down the pipeline without the nurses to fulfil them.

“This is placing aged care providers under significant stress, and they are being crippled by the cost of agency staff as they try to meet the Government’s requirements in almost impossible circumstances.

“For more than a year, the Coalition has been calling for a comprehensive national workforce strategy for the entire care sector, as the only way to adequately address the workforce shortages impacting aged care services across the country.

“The Aged Care Minister has failed to address this workforce crisis despite it being the biggest issue in town,” Shadow Minister Ruston said.

The upcoming budget provides an opportunity for the Albanese Government to finally listen to the Coalition’s calls and start taking real and comprehensive action on workforce.

Aged care providers need the Government’s support through this crisis so that they can focus on providing the best possible care to older Australians.


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