Aged Care

ACWIC ready to support sector in overcoming skill shortage challenges


Aged care faces a severe skill shortage, with demand for nurses increasing due to the government’s requirement for registered nurses, and a transition plan is needed to ensure good clinical care, while there is no silver bullet to the workforce crisis.

The current skill shortage in aged care is real and severe right across Australia. The sector is in transition following the Royal Commission. The demand for aged care workers will continue to increase as our population ages, and we are seeing strong demand for nurses due to the government’s requirement for aged care providers to have a registered nurse (RN) on-site at all times.

Aged care workers are essential workers – just like doctors and nurses and teachers. Without an adequate workforce, aged care providers simply cannot provide care. We need to find a way to attract and keep people working in aged care, and we need a transition plan for the introduction of 24/7 nursing coverage. Getting this transition right is essential to manage risk, and ensure we maintain good clinical care.

While there are real workforce challenges in aged care, there is a clear need to have an RN on staff 24/7. [Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommendation 86.5: In addition, from 1 July 2024, the minimum staff time standard should require at least one registered nurse on site per residential aged care facility at all times]

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to the current workforce crisis. We are seeing this in multiple sectors, not just aged care.

Aged care providers need to have the right people with the right mix of skills available to provide care. That’s why the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council has developed a workforce planning tool, which is currently being evaluated to ensure it meets the needs of the sector. Workforce planning is critical to ensure that older people continue to receive a high standard of care and that the well-being of aged care workers remains a priority.

Read also: Help shape aged care workforce planning with your feedback

The Fair Work Commission’s interim decision to increase award wages by 15% for direct care workers is a step in the right direction in recognising the important work these workers do and that they have been historically underpaid.

Related: Aged care sector set to 15% wage increase

We encourage aged care providers to take advantage of the resources and support offered by the Commonwealth, such as incentive payments to nurses, to retain as many workers as possible.

The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council stands ready to support the workforce and the sector.

Statement from Graeme Prior, Deputy Chair of ACWIC.


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