Aged Care

Groups laud government steps to address care workforce shortfall


The government’s recent Employment White Paper and aged care workforce announcements have been welcomed by industry groups as important steps toward addressing critical staffing shortages.

Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) CEO Tom Symondson praised the White Paper’s acknowledgement of “well-targeted migration” and tapping into older Australians to complement domestic skills growth.

“It has been estimated that Australia will need at least 17,000 more direct aged care workers each year just to meet the standard of care our community expects. Over the next decade, the total figure will spiral to some 110,000 while the population ages, so we’re pleased something is being done,” Symondson said. “Short and long term solutions are needed to address the projected shortfall.”

“It makes sense that older Australians who still want to work should be encouraged to do so. Age should not be a barrier to people continuing to work and contribute to the care economy,” he added.

COTA Australia Acting Chief Executive Officer Corey Irlam said this is an important steps towards breaking down some of the barriers keeping older people who want to work out of the workforce.

“Creating an age-inclusive workplace is important not only for older people, but employees of all ages. Having a flexible working environment, free of conscious or unconscious biases like ageism is a good first step towards attracting older workers into your workplaces,” Irlam said.

The White Paper outlined ambitions for an agile workforce and sustained full employment, where all Australians can find suitable work. CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento agreed this is pivotal amid shifting demands.

“Major structural shifts like digital transformation, the energy transition and an ageing population require a much more agile labour market than we have now,” Cilento said. She highlighted the scope to better utilise migrant skills and called for priority visas in essential sectors like aged care.

Cilento stressed that technology and innovation must be embraced to use the care workforce more efficiently and improve outcomes. “Boosting the use of technology to reduce workers’ administrative burdens will help to improve outcomes by giving workers more time to provide one-to-one care,” she said.

Symondson concluded that expanding migration pathways and engaging older Australians are sensible strategies to address aged care staffing pressures. Combined with training initiatives, these solutions will strengthen the sector’s capacity to meet rising community needs.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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