Government rushes through $90 million in aged care funding – but more needed to solve staffing and funding issues

With the ABC’s Four Corners program starting an investigation into the aged care sector next Monday – and assaults by aged care workers in the headlines – it’s not a surprise that the Coalition this week announced it would bring forward $90 million in funding for the sector promised in the May Budget. 

This includes $50 million for providers and staff to improve quality and standards of care, while $40 million will be invested in infrastructure for regional, rural and remote aged care. 

But this money was already outlined in the Budget for the next four years. 

There is some new funding – $16 million for our new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission which is due to start 1 January 2019. 

The Commission, which will see all of our aged care agencies including the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner brought together under one agency, is designed to improve the response to complaints, create specialist response teams and support consumers. 

This is good news – and we would remind families that unannounced audits have already been introduced to monitor quality of care too.  

The Department of Health recently told us that the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) had conducted 3,044 unannounced visits to aged care facilities in 2017-18. 

Considering there are around 2,700 homes across Australia, that is a solid result. 

A fair go for funding 

But we do feel that these measures are just a stop-gap – rather than a long-term solution to the problems of staffing and funding. 

The message we consistently hear from providers is that they are struggling to recruit and retain quality staff – nurses and care workers report that they lack career opportunities and feel undervalued. 

And as discussed here, four in ten aged care facilities are now making a loss because of the previous Government freeze on funding and the increasing costs of direct care. 

If we want to make sure staff are better trained – and quality standards are being met – we need a clear plan to develop our aged care workforce and fund the growing demand for services. 

Yesterday the Government released the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce’s report ‘A matter of care – a strategy for Australia’s aged care workforce’ which lays out a plan to triple the number of workers in the sector. 

We hope that they are reading it closely – and thinking beyond their struggling polls to what Australians really need in their later life. 

After all, don’t we all deserve the best support as we age?


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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

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.