Childcare workers stage another national strike – but what about our aged care workers?

Hundreds of childcare centres closed this Tuesday as workers walked off the job demanding the Government subsidise a 30 per cent pay rise – their third strike in the last year. 

Childcare workers with a Certificate III currently earn an hourly award rate of $21.29 – not much higher than the national minimum wage of $18.29. 

It’s also well below the average full-time Australian wage of $42.84 per hour. 

But compare this to the current hourly award rate for a third-year assistant in nursing – just $20.63. 

The fact is neither childcare or aged care workers receive the pay that their job deserves – and it shows. 

A 2016 Monash University study found 30 per cent of nurses were considering leaving the profession in the next 12 months. Their average age is 47 – many set to retire within the next decade. 

Yet predictions are we will need 614,000 extra workers by 2050. 

Show me the money 

Despite this pay gap, our aged care staff do an amazing job. They work hard in physically and emotionally demanding roles, often spending time away from their families to travel to work. 

We all know these workers deserve a pay rise – but who’s going to pay for it? 

Many aged care providers do pay above the award rate, but the staff wages are the biggest cost for both not-for-profit and private operators, making up 60 per cent of their budgets – and most cannot afford to pay more. 

The Government needs to step in with more funding for aged care. 

But they can’t be expected to shoulder all the burden. If we want our staff to be better paid – and for them to be better trained and qualified – then we the consumer will need to pay more. 

After all, these are the people who care for our mums and dads – and will care for us when we are older.  

Shouldn’t their wages reflect this? 

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A special thanks to our contributors



Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.