As Labor and the industry look to solve the aged care sector’s workforce shortages, is it up to operators to take the lead?

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With a new report pointing to an exodus of 65,000 aged care workers from the sector in the last 12 months, can the new Government stem the flow, or will it fall to providers?

The report – released by independent thinktank Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) – estimates that the shortfall in aged care workers has grown from 17,000 last August to 30,000 to 35,000 today.

It is a situation that will become exacerbated in the next 12 months as the Royal Commission reforms continue to roll out.

The new Australian National Aged Care Classification funding model (AN-ACC) will be introduced in October – which will require most operators to increase their workforces.

At the same time, the new Labor Government has also announced that it will implement 24/7 Registered Nurses by mid-next year and increase the mandated minimum direct care minutes to 215 on top of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

Can this dire situation be turned around?

The Government seems to think so.

All indications are that Anthony Albanese’s Government is looking overseas for a short-term fix – see this story.

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells told 4BC Drive this week that another option is to bring aged care workers back to the industry.

“We have the nurses’ union telling us… there are nurses that have left the sector, they’ve gone to places like the NDIS or other parts of the care economy where they get paid better and they get valued better,” she said.

Certainly, the success of the unions’ 25% wage claim case before the Fair Work Commission (FWC) would deliver a boost for the existing workforce.

But migration and wages are only part of the picture.

There is no denying that aged care is one of the hardest jobs around – and the opportunities have been lacking in the past.

As the CEDA report – and many reviews – have noted, it will take more than a pay rise to entice people to come into the sector and stay.

Training, career pathways, technology, and the value of aged care work in the community are among the areas that have been pinpointed for action.

While the Government can put more measures in place to increase the flow of overseas workers, operators tell us that their focus is on “growing your own”.

More in next week’s Thursday SOURCE on the measures that some operators are taking to build their workforce.