Home care providers and other eligible organisations can apply for a $92 million cash pool to recruit and train more workers as part of the government’s commitment to wiping out the home care waiting list.

Greg Hunt

The $91.8 million Home Care Workforce Support program will provide nine grants to help organisations or consortia get 13,000 new care workers into the sector by mid 2023, the federal government announced on Tuesday.

The funding can be used for screening candidates, mentoring and support services, work placements, training for existing staff and campaigns to attract and retain staff.

Applications are now open for the grants provided, which will be provided via a competitive grant process with one grant for each and state and territory (NSW and ACT combined) and two grants for regional and remote areas.

Eligible organisations, or organisations eligible to lead a consortium, include:

  • Approved home care providers
  • Aged care peaks/industry bodies
  • Recruitement agencies, employment services and apprenticeship networks
  • Registered training organisations
  • Online care brokerage platforms
  • Community employment organisations
  • Aboriginal community controlled health organisations
  • Consultancies and businesses that provide advice to the care sector

The size of each grant will reflect demand for home care packages in the region and there will loading for regional and remote communities in line with increased costs, the government says. 

Attracting, training and retaining staff

Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt says the grants will enable providers to attract, train and retain 6,000 personal care worker over the next financial year and 7,000 in 2022-23, including an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

“They will ensure new and existing personal care workers have the skills and support required to provide quality aged care services to all seniors who need them,” Mr Hunt says.

Aged care services minister Richard Colbeck says expanding and upskilling the home care workforce is central to the government’s response the to aged care royal commission, including its promise to release 80,000 more home care packages.

“Making sure we have enough carers with the right skills to provide these services is vital as we expand the number of care packages and wipe out waiting list,” he said.

More workers need

However, the government’s target is 5,000 workers fewer than what the Committee for Economic Development of Australia says will be needed to meet demand.

In a report released on Tuesday, Meeting the aged care workforce challenge, CEDA estimates the government will need to provide 18,000 additional home care workers over the next two years if it’s to deliver the promised 80,000 new HCPs.

Overall, the report predicts that Australia is facing a shortage of more than 100,000 aged care workers within the next ten years and 400,000 by 2050.

CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball said Australia had failed to prepare for the growing demand for aged care workers, despite its ageing demographic being well understood for decades. 

“We will need at least 17,000 more direct aged-care workers each year in the next decade just to meet basic standards of care,” Mr Ball said.  

“These projections are based on conservative assumptions, and the situation may prove to be even more dire than this.” 

Information about the Home Care Workforce Support Program can be found here.

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