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What’s happening in the aged care sector in 2023?

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

As a sector teeming with opportunity and career progression, there’s never been a better time than now to enter Australia’s booming aged care industry. The field boasts an expected growth of 40% in the next four years, with a current average salary of $50,000 - $60,000 AUD.

It’s an industry that offers both personal and financial fulfillment, and with the upcoming government reforms – it’s bound to only expand and thrive, offering endless prospects for growth and success.

Below, we break down the changes to come for the aged care sector, and how Upskilled can help you get your start in the field. 

Pay increase

One of the primary initiatives of the Australian government’s 2023-24 budget is to provide a 15% wage increase (including on-costs and leave liabilities) across the aged care workforce. This includes:
  • personal care workers and home workers
  • registered nurses
  • enrolled nurses
  • assistants in nursing
  • head chefs and cooks, and
  • recreational activities officers/lifestyle workers
This increase also applies to any worker on the Aged Care Award (2010); Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award (2010); and the Nurses Award 2020. Furthermore, the Department of Health and Aged Care will continue to consider wage increases for other aged care employees, such as those in support and administration.

Aged care providers can also look forward to additional funding through both existing funding arrangements and newly introduced grant opportunities. This aims to bolster the resources available to these organisations, empowering them to deliver enhanced services and meet the evolving needs of Australia’s elderly population.
These increases will come into effect from the 30th of June, 2023.

New and improved taskforce

Another reform initiative is the delivery of a new Aged Care Act. Under the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, this new act aims to prioritise the needs of elderly residents and recipients while streamlining the entry and access to aged care.

Additionally, it seeks to implement a more robust provider registration scheme, enhance governance and stewardship arrangements, and enable supported decision-making through nominee arrangements. Aged care employees can also look forward to greater worker protection, with the act pursuing stronger regulatory monitoring and enforcement; management of integrity risks; protection for whistle-blowers (and an improved complaints framework); and the safeguarding of personal and private data. There will also be grant allocated to support specialist and enabling services.

Moreover, general practitioners (GPs) will now be incentivised to provide routine appointments, regular health assessments, and develop care plans for aged care residents. Primarily Health Networks will additionally receive funding to collaborate with aged care facilities in pairing every resident (or prospective resident) with a regular primary care provider. Funds will also be allocated to commission GPs in areas experiencing workforce shortages, ensuring access to high-quality, continuous healthcare for elderly individuals in those areas.
All this aims to support a more proactive, comprehensive, and continuous care system for our aging population, ultimately improving their health outcomes and providing them with the personalised attention they need.

Updated regulations

Furthermore, we can expect a new regulatory framework for the sector starting from the 1st of July, 2024. Under the new Aged Care Act, this comprehensive framework aims to improve food and nutrition standards, ensure residents receive Monthly Care Statements, expand staffing quality indicators, and continuously improve Star Ratings for older residents.

Through a budget allocation of $59.4 million in 2023-24, the government is committed to working closely with the sector to ensure a smooth transition and no disruption to service delivery. This new framework will be supported by ICT enhancements, reinforcement of Aged Care Quality Standards, and an extension of the Governing for Reform Program to support aged care leaders in adapting to upcoming changes.
There will also be a dedicated Food, Nutrition and Dining (FND) Advisory Support unit to improve the quality of food within aged care, with initiatives that include annual spot checks, a dedicated hotline for food complaints, clinical dietary expertise, and targeted referrals for dietitian-led menu assessments and food and nutrition education programs.

Finally, the new reforms aim to boost monitoring and compliance in the sector, with funding allocated to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) to conduct over 1,200 aged care service audits and to monitor compliance of the new requirement for 24/7 registered nursing in residential aged care (starting from 1st of July, 2023). There will also be more comprehensive care worker screening (under the National Worker Registration Scheme), ensuring recipients of aged care and disability services are getting the trusted, high-quality, and professional support they deserve,

Enhanced support

Lastly, the new aged care reforms generally seek to expand access to services in the sector. This includes greater support towards in-home aged care, with a Support at Home program in development to help older people meet their needs from the safety and comfort of their own residence. This new program will be launched from the 1st of July, 2025, with further refinements to come in the next year.

The sector can further expect a 15% award pay rise for home care workers, as well as an additional 9,500 Home Care Packages in 2023-24 to help older people to live independently in their homes for longer. Funding will also be extended to the Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) Program until the 30th of June, 2026, as well as to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFAC) from the 1st of July, 2023. The latter aims to deliver culturally safe, affordable care towards First Nations elders living in remote locations.

Additionally, the residential aged care places will no longer be allocated to aged care providers from the 1st of July, 2024. The elderly will instead be directly allocated to a residential aged care place, allowing to receive the services they need from their chosen provider. Through this, the government aims to empower older people in making their own informed decisions best suited to their needs.

Join the noble pursuit - ignite your passion in the aged care sector today!

Through stronger government support, the aged care sector can look forward to a transformative era of improved quality, enhanced standards, and better outcomes for older individuals. With plenty of job opportunities in store, those looking for a fulfilling, rewarding, and flexible career path can look no further than this ever-growing, in-demand industry.

If you’re looking to dive into the world of aged care, Upskilled offers comprehensive training courses to help you get started. Pursue a CHC33015 - Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) to build your skills as a care worker or gain a CHC33015 - Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) and gain the practical skills you need for disability work.  Best of all, each course is delivered online – helping you train according to your personal needs and schedule.

Take the first step in empowering the lives of the elderly, and enquire with us on a course today.
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Start your next course with Upskilled. Enter your details in the form below.

*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.