Federal Government has spent less than 50% of funding for aged care surge workforce

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The Federal Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package for providers remains largely unspent with only $20 million out of the $43 million used to date, despite widespread workforce shortages.

The funding had been announced in March to enable aged care providers to hire extra nurses and aged care workers in both residential and home care, as part of a broader $101 million package that also included funding to educate and train aged care workers in infection control.

Staff shortages have been a critical issue in Victorian aged care, with over 1,000 aged care workers reportedly infected with COVID-19 and hundreds more who have been forced into isolation because of close contact with positive cases.

The Aged Care Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck, rejected the idea that the money is going to waste however.

“The government’s initial commitment of $101.2 million is a significant investment and has been well utilised to date,” he said.

“The Commonwealth continues to build capacity in the workforce surge program to ensure that aged care providers impacted by COVID-19 have access to resources to meet their workforce needs and supplement their own workforce should they need to do so.”