Royal Commission wraps up staffing, hears clear link between staffing and skills mix and quality of care

25 October 2019

The Aged Care Royal Commission has concluded its hearings on staffing in the sector after a big week of evidence from range of industry experts, including the ANMF (SA Branch)’s Rob Bonner.

The Royal Commission heard that, when it comes to staffing, bare minimum has become the norm with many of the issues plaguing the sector worsened by the wrong skill mix, time poor staff and limited workforce capability.

Some of solutions presented to the Royal Commission last week included:

  • staff working in integrated care teams comprising doctors, nurses and allied health professionals;
  • a renewed industry focus on skilled, knowledgeable, educated and trained staff;
  • the need for a registration scheme for employees; and
  • good governance structures and better leadership to spark the cultural change needed in the industry.

The Commission heard from its Senior Counsel Assisting, that the decline in number of nurses in aged care must be addressed and reversed and that staffing models explained at the hearings—including that based on ANMF’s staffing and skills mix research—are sophisticated and cannot be described as ‘blunt’.

It was announced that aged care funding will be the topic of the Royal Commission hearings next year.

The Royal Commission is expected to soon call for written submissions on policies and issues relating to:

Methods for determining appropriate staffing levels and the appropriate skills mix;

  • Ideas for transforming training and education;
  • A registration scheme for personal care workers;
  • Options to resolve low remuneration and improve working conditions;
  • Improve governance; leadership and workforce culture; and
  • Respective role of the commonwealth and the aged care industry

Keep an eye out on the Royal Commission website at for details of how submissions may be made by a 6 December 2019 closing.

To read more on last week’s proceedings—and why the Australian Government was blasted as “missing in action” on the issues, visit

The Royal Commission’s interim report is due on 31 October and will include information about overall impressions of the aged care system.