Dangerous understaffing in aged care is resulting in missed care and even preventable injury and death. Vulnerable older Australians are suffering while providers continue to unashamedly boost their profits while avoiding scrutiny.
Right now in our aged care facilities:

  • Basic care is being missed, including showering, feeding, hydration, and oral hygiene. 
  • Carers are expected to spend no more than 10 minutes to shower each resident.
  • Residents are being left for hours in their own waste and vomit. 
  • It is not unheard of for one Registered Nurse to be allocated up to 200 residents.

Why is this happening? 

Hard-pressed nurses and care staff are doing their best in often impossible circumstances, but there are simply not enough of them to provide the quality care they know they can.
That’s because there are currently no laws dictating how many nurses and support staff are required to provide safe care.

Australia has strict staff ratios for childcare. But there are no ratios for aged care.
In the last five years, Australia’s estimated 900 private aged care providers have received more than $60 billion federal taxpayer dollars. They do not have to publicly report how any of the funds are spent.
Many providers are putting profits above quality care. This is why we need safe staffing and financial reporting to be made LAW in aged care.

How do we fix it? 

The QNMU, together with our federal body the ANMF, has five key reforms which must be addressed by the Morrison Government in Budget 2021 to achieve the necessary changes in aged care.

  1. Registered nurse on site 24 hours per day
  2. Immediate implementation (from 1 July 2022) of legislated minimum care hours
  3. An uplift in legislated minimum care hours by 1 July 2023
  4. Legislated transparency and accountability measures
  5. 25% wage increase for all nurses and care-workers in aged care and improvements in conditions

Read more about the above priorities on our national campaign website.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was first established in October 2018 in response to the many aged care issues identified by the media, enquiries and reports.
After more than two years of hearings and evidence, the Commission released its final report to the public on 1 March 2021. The report, titled Care, Dignity and Respect, makes 148 recommendations and calls for fundamental reform of the aged care system.
These wide-ranging recommendations include:

  • A new Aged Care Act that puts older people first, enshrining their rights and providing a universal entitlement for high quality and safe care based on assessed need.
  • An Inspector-General of Aged Care to identify and investigate systemic issues and to publish reports of its findings.
  • A plan to deliver, measure and report on high quality aged care, including independent standard-setting, a general duty on aged care providers to ensure quality and safe care, and a comprehensive approach to quality measurement, reporting and star ratings.
  • Professionalising the aged care workforce through changes to education, training, wages, labour conditions and career progression.
  • Registration of personal care workers as well as a minimum staff time standard for residential aged care.
  • A minimum quality and safety standard for staff time in residential aged care, including an appropriate skills mix and daily minimum staff time for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers for each resident, and at least one registered nurse on site at all times.
  • Strengthened provider governance arrangements to ensure independence, accountability and transparency.
  • Funding to meet the actual cost of high quality care and an independent Pricing Authority to determine the costs of delivering it.

Together with the ANMF, we'll be undertaking a thorough review and analysis of these recommendations. 
The Royal Commissioners have asked the federal government to respond to their recommendations by 31 May 2021. 
We will continue to put the pressure on our federal politicians and the federal government to commit to act on the report's recommendations. 
Read a summary of the final report and full list of recommendations. 

Latest updates

  • Our application for 25% wage increase for aged care nursing staff – witness statements submitted
    Published: 13 December 2021

    As part of our case to secure a significant pay rise for all aged care nurses and carers, our national body, the ANMF, has now filed our witness statements in the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
    Read more

  • Bolton Clarke offers increased contracted hours, full-time employment
    Published: 11 November 2021

    Thanks to the QNMU, 3000 part-time Bolton Clarke aged care staff – mostly nurses and carers – will be offered increased contracted hours or full-time employment.
    Read more

  • Does your contract reflect your actual hours?
    Published: 10 November 2021

    If your written contract doesn’t reflect the number of hours you actually work on a regular basis, you can request to have it amended to reflect the hours you actually work.
    Read more

  • ANMF/QNMU applies for 25% wage increase for aged care nursing staff
    Published: 18 May 2021

    The QNMU's national body, the ANMF, has applied to the Fair Work Commission for a 25% increase in Award wages for RNs, ENs, AINs and Personal Care Workers in aged care throughout Australia.
    Read more

  • Morrison government’s aged care response doesn’t go far enough
    Published: 13 May 2021

    The $17.7 billion allocated to aged care in the federal budget is not the “once in a generation” reform package promised by the Morrison Government, and won’t be anywhere near enough to fix the systemic issues in the sector.
    Read more

Donate your time to support aged care ratios

We're asking Aussies to donate a small amount of time - 2, 5 or 7 mins - and take some simple online actions that call on PM Scott Morrison and others to mandate minimum staff ratios. 

Donate time now

Who's pledged to support aged care ratios?

Aged care workers are bravely speaking out about the chronic understaffing in our aged care facilities, but we need our federal politicians to act.
See if your local federal member has pledged to support ratios in aged care!  

See who's pledged

Spread the word! 

Please print and distribute the below resources to your friends, family and colleagues:
It's Not Too Much To Ask posters
Ratios for Aged Care campaign flyer  
Importance of Carers in aged care flyer
Aged care medication management flyer
Aged care 10 questions brochure