While it's tremendous to see funding for 200 minutes of daily care and 24/7 nurse care in aged care homes, where's the workforce to deliver it?

Federal Budget: Aged Care Funding With No Workforce
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions

Last week the Labour Government handed down its first Federal Budget.

Forewarned that it was going to be a tough budget in the current climate of inflation, costly natural disasters, a pandemic, and deep deficit, it was a relief to see $3.9 billion of budget funding[1] for aged care.

It will bring momentum to some key reforms recommended by the 2021 Royal Commission into Aged Care, and sees the Government carry out major election promises made in May 2022[2].

The bugbear of the aged care workforce remains[3] - you need the trained registered nurses and care workers to deliver the now budgeted minutes and 24/7 of care.

While this budget puts aside funding for a much needed pay rise for aged care workers[4], the question remains:

Where will the Government find this workforce?

Federal Budget Highlights: On the residential care home front

Funding was put aside for:

  • 200 care minutes per day per resident, of which 40 minutes are provided by nurses, from 1 October 2023.
    ✔️ A key election promise met.

  • 215 care minutes, of which 40 minutes are provided by nurses, from 1 October 2024.
    ✔️ Another key election promise met.

  • A registered nurse on site 24/7 at all aged care homes from 1 July 2023.
    ✔️ Another key election promise met.

[Note: $2.5 billion has been budgeted for the above three initiatives: 200-215 minutes of care, and a 24/7 on site nurse.]

  • Better food with the Maggie Beer Foundation funded to educate and train staff ($5 million).

  • Better support for homes caring for older First Nations people, residents from diverse communities, and those homes in regional areas ($26.1 million).

Highlights: On the home care front

Funding was put aside for:

  • Continuing the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP - the entry-level program for in home care support for senior Australians) until 30 June 2024. This is reassuring for the 800,000 or more Australians currently receiving support through this program which, on 1 July 2024, will merge with the Home Care Packages programme (HCP - the higher level of support program to form the Support at Home Program.

For both residential care and home care

Funding was put aside to invest in administration, governance and technology, for example, for:

  • A new national registration scheme for personal care workers, including a code of conduct, ongoing training, and English proficiency ($3.6 million).

  • Additional public consultation, a large-scale trial of a new in-home assessment tool, and to establish a Service List Advisory Body (with no detail given on that body) ($23.1 million).

  • A dedicated Aged Care Complaints Commissioner ($9.9 million).

  • A new independent Inspector-General of Aged Care ($38.7 million) to continually improve our aged care system.

  • Placing Commonwealth Aged Care offices in eight new regional locations ($68.5 million).

  • Improving information and communications technology to streamline provider interactions with the Government's aged care systems ($312.6 million).

Workforce issues remain

The newly appointed CEO of the Aged and Community Care Provider Association, Tom Symondson, summed up my views when he said[5]:

"We have welcomed funding for additional care minutes but there is no escaping the fact that it requires us to recruit thousands of extra staff in the context of record low unemployment and a global shortage of nurses.

"To give older Australians the care they deserve, Government and providers need to work together to fix current funding shortages and workforce shortfalls."

In the Government's Federal Budget media releases and associated statements, I cannot find the Government's solution to the aged care workforce shortfalls.



Seeking care for a loved one? Please feel free to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.
- Contact Danielle - For An Impartial & Confidential Conversation



[1] Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care: Budget October 2022-23: Portfolio Budget Statements

[2] DR Care Solutions: Australian Federal Election: The Aged Care Vote

[3] DR Care Solutions: Aged Care Workers: Finding & Paying A New Aged Care Workforce

[4] The Fair Work Commission is yet to announce the percentage pay rise for aged care workers, for more background see DR Care Solutions Blog: Aged Care Workers - Attracting Workers For Aged Care Reforms

[5] Aged Care News: Special Report - A Deep Dive Into How Federal Budget 2022 Impacts The Aged Care Sector



Danielle Robertson

Danielle Robertson

Working with you and your support network to get the right care outcomes for you and your loved ones. Danielle Robertson is founder and CEO of DR Care Solutions, offering aged care and disability care concierge services and expertise on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place. Danielle's experience in the Australian care sector spans over three and a half decades. Now that's a lot of experience, wisdom and networks!