Workforce Initiatives and Supports

CEDA’s 2021 research found that Australia needed a net increase of 17,000 direct care workers per year from 2020 through to 2030. This will require change at the sector level and new ways of doing business. There has been a rapid increase in resources, initiatives and private suppliers to aged care which can support attraction, retention and capability of the aged care workforce.

The Australian government has developed a set of initiatives that are focused around:

  • Building Workforce
    The Government is providing opportunities to expand the care and support workforce. This will allow more skilled workers to deliver safe, consistent, high-quality aged care services. A wage increase recognises the value of aged care workers and the complex work they do. More career options for women, First Nations people, regional Australians, and culturally and linguistically diverse people will help with workforce and create new pathways. A reliable, skilled surge workforce will also contribute to continuity of care in regional and rural areas.
  • Training and education
    The government is supporting programs and resources that train new workers and advance worker skills to meet the needs of older people. These include resources for palliative care, dementia care, infection prevention and control, and culturally safe, inclusive, respectful care. Aged care workers can continue professional development and gain qualifications through online training, scholarships and recognition of prior learning.
  • Supporting providers
    The government is supporting providers to create a work environment where staff feel respected and supported. This looks at how to develop and improve worker skills, improve work culture and deliver safe, quality care.

Quality Standards

The Final draft of the strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards released in November 2023 provides a framework for quality care. Standard 2 sets out the expectations of the governing body to meet the requirements of the Quality Standards and deliver quality care and services through establishing the strategic priorities for the organisation and promoting a culture of safety and quality. Standard 2 highlights that the provider’s governance systems and workforce are critical to the delivery of safe, quality, effective and person-centred care for every older person, and continuous care and services improvement. It also notes that workers should be empowered to do their jobs well.

Outcome 2.8 deals particularly with Workforce Planning articulating the provider’s responsibility to understand and manage its workforce needs and plans for the future.

Strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards: Final Draft [ Outcome 2.8 Workforce Planning, p 15]  

Specific Initiatives 

 Find out more

  1. Explore the Aged Care Workforce content within the Department of Health and Aged Care website 
  2. Visit the Care and support economy pages in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet site  
  3. Examine data on Australia’s aged care workforce in AIHW’s GEN Aged Care Data 
  4. You can browse ARIIA’s Workforce Retention resources