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Budget 2022-2023: where is the funding for Aged Care workers?

Written by Lauranne Beernaert, Sector Support Coordinator

Announced on the 29th March 2022, this year’s Federal Budget was released 5 weeks earlier than usual, breaking with the tradition of an early May budget announcement. It did however not break any records in terms of funding for the Aged Care workforce.

After last year’s record budget for Aged Care of $17.7 billion which was topped up with $6 million later the same year, the 2022-2023 budget of $522 million will support the work that has already been initiated with the reforms. A separate $458.1 million will be allocated to the COVID-19 response in the Sector. This includes the $800 bonus payments to residential and home care workers announced earlier this year.

At a glance budget: 2022-23 Budget Infographic.

Deep dive into Aged Care

Data extracted from Record investment in the future of Australia’s health system – Media Release

  • Home Care: $5.4 million will support the development and consultation process of the new Support at Home program, including its regulatory framework.
  • Residential Care: $387.9 million in total – $345.7 million for on-site pharmacists and community pharmacy services in government-funded residential aged care facilities (RACFs), $22.1 million to deliver a Multidisciplinary Outreach Services Trial, and $20.1 million to transition from the current funding model to the new model (AN-ACC).
  • Aged Care Quality: $21.6 million to ensure services adhere to the Aged Care Quality Standards. This will assist the Commission to undertake residential aged care audits, increasing quality and safety assessments.
  • Cross-Agency Taskforce on Regulatory Alignment: $10.8 million to progress alignment of regulation across the care and support sector – aged care, disability supports, and veterans’ care.
  • Workforce and Care Delivery: $32.8 million to address barriers to clinical placements in the care and support sectors (resulting in the attraction of 5,250 more nurses) and expand the RHMT Program to create links with rural and remote aged care facilities and attract Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander students.
  • Training Places: $48.5 million to create 15,000 additional low fee and free training places in Aged Care as part of the JobTrainer Aged Care Boost.
  • Co‑operative and Mutual Enterprises (CME) Support Program: $6.9 million to increase the number of CMEs across the Australian social care sector and develop sustainable and coordinated approaches in growing a skilled workforce.
  • Regional stewardship model of governance for aged care: $6.1 million to continue the roll-out of the program to ensure providers, older Australians and workers have a pathway to raise issues and needs during policy development.
  • + 40,000 new Home Care Packages to be released.

Note that there are other measures that will affect older Australians but are not part of the Aged Care budget per se. Read this summary from National Seniors to understand how the budget might impact the cost of living, income and savings and health of older Australians.

An unfinished business

Peak bodies and service providers  regret that the workforce recommendations from the Royal Commission have not been addressed, considering it is a ‘key area of unfinished business’ as stated in LASA’s Budget response.  In particular, the key issue of wages for aged care workers and a commitment to fund the outcome of the current Fair Work Commission process is not mentioned.

The issue of wages has never been more important to tackle as a recent report from the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) found that the current earning of a full-time Aged Care worker is $773 a week. Read more in this Article from Aged Care Guide.  The AACC Report ‘It’s time to care about aged care’ can be downloaded here.

Read more about what the Sector says here: