Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, says that a funding response from Government is needed to allow providers to action yesterday’s decision to increase Modern Award rates of pay by 3 per cent without compromising services for older Australians.
The Fair Work Commission confirmed an increase to modern award wages and the National Minimum Wage of 3 per cent effective from 1 July.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said indexation of funding for aged care in Australia has not kept pace with rising wages of aged care staff or the growing needs of older Australians.
“LASA supports the aged care workforce strategy, including the goals of improving pay, conditions, training, and career pathways for aged care workers.
“The challenge is to balance these goals with the practical realities of government controlled aged care funding, where indexation of subsidies is already falling behind wage growth and the ability of providers to raise prices is highly regulated.
“Despite wages increasing by more than 3 per cent per year over the last three years, we expect indexation of aged care funding to continue to be less than 1.5 per cent unless there is a change in Government policy.
“The result is that in residential care, an estimated more than 40 per cent of facilities are operating at a loss and in home care the average earnings per client continue to fall making many services unsustainable.
“The situation is even worse in rural, regional and remote areas where access to staff and higher costs are further compounding financial stress and putting viability under particular threat.
“Despite the pressure they are under, residential care providers continue to increase the number of hours of care per resident, but this cannot continue indefinitely, and some providers have already been forced to cut back on staffing.
“In home care, a higher hourly wage means that fewer hours of care can be purchased if there is not a commensurate increase in the value of packages.
“This Government must commit to urgent action to address the funding emergency if we are to meet the changing needs and expectations of the growing numbers of older Australians.”
About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)
LASA is the national peak body representing and supporting providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living. Our purpose is to enable a high performing, respected, and sustainable age services industry delivering accessible, affordable, quality care and services for older Australians.
We represent providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Consistent with the overall industry profile, 57% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 33% are for-profit providers and 10% are government providers.
Our diverse and representative membership gives LASA the ability to speak with credibility and authority on issues of importance to older Australians and the age services industry.
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