Australia’s aged care system is fast becoming unsustainable due to financial losses faced by providers, the worsening workforce crisis and an ageing population that will double the cost within 40 years, a new report warns., The Guardian reports..
The University of Technology Sydney’s Ageing Research Collaborative (UARC) last week published a new paper on the aged care system, detailing compounding pressures that, unless resolved, will undermine access to safe and quality care for older Australians.
The majority of the nation’s aged care providers (60 per cent) are now operating at a loss, the report warns, and earnings per resident have fallen a staggering 44 per cent in the three years to 2019-20.
The system is already costing taxpayers $27 billion a year – roughly 1.2 per cent of GDP.
That will almost double to 2.1 per cent within 40 years, largely due to Australia’s ageing population, which will not only increase demand for services, but reduce the taxation base from which to fund the system and shrink the pool of workers available to staff it.
Attracting new workers to the system – a critical measure needed to solve the current staffing crisis – will require higher wages and better conditions, posing an additional cost to already-struggling providers.
There is also still huge unmet demand for home care, even with the 80,000 new home care places funded and being progressively released by the federal government.
The report says additional government funding is required. But it also warns increased funding cannot be the sole solution.
The Council on the Ageing chief executive, Ian Yates, said Australia must urgently shift to a financially sustainable system that would help deliver quality aged care to older Australians.
Cost of Australia’s aged care system to taxpayers could double, experts warn (The Guardian)