Media Release: Aged Care Workforce Gap Hurts Regional Communities

Aged care providers in rural and regional Australia need urgent staffing support, as the Albanese Labor Government fails to make any headway with their serious workforce shortfall.

Evidence during recent Senate Estimates showed that the Albanese Labor Government is still overseeing an aged care workforce gap of 4,043 registered nurses for the 2024-25 financial year.

This workforce gap looms over the sector as the next trance of the Government’s staffing requirements comes into effect on 1 October 2024.

In just a few months’ time, aged care providers will be required to find even more additional staff – in the midst of a workforce crisis - in order to provide an average of 215 care minutes per resident per day, including 44 minutes of direct RN care.

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Anne Ruston said that it is rural and regional Australia, where we know there are extremely shallow workforce markets, that will be most impacted by the Government’s workforce gap.

“Today I had the privilege of visiting an aged care home in Whyalla, where residents told me how fortunate they feel to have access to a local facility that allows them to receive the care they need in their home town, remaining connected to friends and loved ones.

“With the new October care minutes looming over the sector, at the same time as the Department has admitted to a serious workforce shortfall, the Government must take urgent action to protect aged care access in communities like Whyalla,” Senator Ruston said.

Senator Ruston acknowledged the Government’s decision to allow 10% of the new care minute requirements to provided by enrolled nurses, but said that more needs to be done to give provider’s flexibility and support.

“The Government and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission need to put appropriate safeguards in place that recognises shallow workforce markets, particularly for aged care homes in the bush.

“Otherwise, we know that they will be risking even further home closures under their watch.

“It is so essential that older Australians living in the bush are not forced to move thousands of kilometres away, leaving their loved ones behind,” Senator Ruston said.

The Coalition is committed to standing up and protecting the rights of older Australians to have access to the care they need as they age, no matter their postcode.


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