Now 82k-plus vacancies in hospitals and aged care

CATHOLIC Health Australia is calling on the new Health Minster post-election to introduce urgent and high-impact reforms to fill 82,156 hospital and aged care vacancies, after a new study revealed the startling detail of the national health staffing crisis for the first time.

The new research, conducted by Evaluate and the University of Notre Dame and commissioned by Catholic Health Australia, reveals some 23,089 vacancies in hospitals and 59,067 in aged care.

The research was conducted by drawing on survey data from Catholic health providers across Australia and extrapolating figures for the entire Australian health system. Among the findings:

  • 12,065 registered nurse vacancies in Australian hospitals
  • 1454 midwife vacancies in Australian hospitals
  • 3891 support staff vacancies in Australian hospitals
  • 45,561 qualified aged care worker vacancies in the aged care system
  • 1760 registered nurse vacancies in the aged care system

"I think Australians know there is a shortage of health workers in our system, but I don't think many understand just how enormous this problem has grown," said Catholic Health Australia chief executive Pat Garcia.

"The researchers in this study were actually conservative in their modelling, so there's a chance the real numbers are even higher than these startling figures.

"Our hospitals and aged care providers just cannot go on with this acute understaffing. The situation right now is totally unsustainable.

"If these numbers don't shock the new Federal Health Minister, I don't know what will."

Mr Garcia called on the incoming Health Minister to urgently champion a range of reforms to help alleviate the crisis.

"We need to expedite the process for healthcare workers to get into Australia and get them to work. There's currently far too much red tape and it's putting people off," Mr Garcia said.

"In a competitive global market we also need to think about incentives like organising housing, school placements, and childcare for newly arrived health workers and their families – anything to make their lives easier and lessen the burden of moving here. We also need to remove visa and registration costs for both health workers and their families. And we must offer a solid and certain path to residency — the importance of this factor cannot be overstated.

"We also need the government to ensure and make affordable flexible, out of hours childcare options for healthcare workers. We have put a range of suggested childcare reforms on the table for the government, but what is clear is that reform is now urgent.

"We should also look at reforming nurse training practices to get nurses into hospitals and aged care facilities sooner. Obviously we also need to fund and incentivise more university and TAFE places, but this pipeline will take time and we need reform that will deliver results sooner as well."

Full data can be found here.



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Stars back electrification to smash emissions and power bills.

TOP AUSSIE sports stars and entertainers have added their voice -- literally -- to the push to electrify our homes and vehicles to slash carbon emissions and demolish energy bills.

A group of nine high-profile Aussies have narrated a chapter each of The Big Switch, Saul Griffith’s blueprint for decarbonising our homes and vehicles. The audiobook is available through Spotify and on the Rewiring Australia website.

Those participating include cricket stars Rachael Haynes and Pat Cummins, AFL aces Tom Hickey and Nicola Barr, rugby champ Alicia Lucas, professional surfer Ace Buchan, actress Yael Stone, and former Australian Greens leader, Christine Milne.

The Big Switch shows how Australia can make the most of its abundance of solar energy to create zero emission towns and suburbs by swapping out fossil fuel devices like gas cooktops, gas hot water, gas heating and combustion engine cars with electrified versions such as induction stoves, electric space heating and electric vehicles.

Dr Griffith, who has advised the White House, partnered on projects with NASA and sold tech companies to Google, thanked everyone involved.

“Decarbonising our homes and suburbs is not rocket science. We have all the technology available. All it really requires is some practical Aussie knowledge and a bit of elbow grease to get the job done," Dr Griffith said.

“By electrifying our homes and vehicles we can smash carbon emissions while we demolish household energy bills.

“We need to jump on this opportunity now. Whoever wins the election on Saturday night needs to start grappling with this challenge on Monday morning, but they need to see the upside as well.

“The future looks like cleaner air, healthier kids, more high viz, tradie jobs and much cheaper energy bills for Australian homes.

"These Australian sports stars, entertainers and leaders want Australia to lead on climate, to take the steps now that lower home energy bills for all Australians and create an abundant future for our communities. ”


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Westpac expands support for flood-affected SMEs and communities

WESTPAC Group has reiterated its support for consumer and small business customers hit hard by severe weather and flooding in Queensland.

Westpac Group offers tailored support for impacted customers including loan deferrals for up to three months and emergency credit card relief.

Small business customers who meet the eligibility criteria can also apply for $3,000 in cash grants per customer group to help with urgent expenses or repairs as part of Westpac’s $2 million flood support fund launched earlier this year. The Fund is still open and has already helped more than 550 small business customers.

Westpac chief customer engagement officer for consumer and small business, Ross Miller said as Australia continued to feel the impact of severe weather events the bank was "here to support customers in need".

“While this is still an evolving situation, we encourage any customer feeling the impact of the floods in Queensland to give us a call," Mr Miller said. "We have our bankers and phone support teams available to work through a tailored financial solution to help get our customers back on their feet.

“Our flood fund had already assisted hundreds of small business customers who have needed emergency funds to help with urgent repairs and clean up, to help pay staff or restock the shelves.  We now want to offer this support to Queensland businesses who have been impacted by the latest floods,” Mr Miller said..

Emergency support for Westpac and St George customers:

  • Affected customers with home loans may apply to defer repayments for up to three months.
  • Affected credit card customers may apply to defer repayments to their card for up to 90 days.
  • Affected customers wishing to purchase replacement goods may apply for a personal loan at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee.
  • Waived interest rate adjustments for affected customers wishing to withdraw term deposits.
  • Affected customers experiencing hardship may also be offered a halt on all interest accrual on unsecured credit products for a period of up to three months.
  • Affected customers with business loans may apply to defer repayments for up to three months.
  • Affected businesses with existing loans can request loan restructuring without incurring the usual bank establishment fees.
  • Affected business customers with merchant facilities are eligible to receive assistance, including monthly terminal access fee refunds for up to three months

To access financial assistance:

  • Westpac consumer customers can apply online or call Westpac Assist on 1800 067 497. Business customers who need support can contact their Relationship Manager or call Westpac Assist on 1800 067 497.
  • St.George consumer customers can apply online or call St.George Assist on 1800 629 795. Business customers who need support can contact their Relationship Manager or call St.George Assist on 1800 629 795.

Flood grants eligibility criteria:

The flood grants are available for existing small business customers in NSW and Queensland in flood impacted postcodes who have experienced significant damage to, or destruction of, income-producing assets as a result of the floods.

This could include business premises, equipment and loss of stock or livestock. Additional eligibility criteria apply.

  • For emergency assistance in severe weather, contact the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500, or call 000(triple zero) for life-threatening emergencies.


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RMIT welcomes the addition of Auslan courses to Victoria’s Free TAFE list 

RMIT has welcomed news that the Victorian Government has added courses in Auslan to its Free TAFE list, helping more Victorians become Auslan interpreters and contributing to a more diverse and inclusive community.

Victorian Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney made the announcement at RMIT’s city campus on Monday, announcing an investment of more than $4 million to make several Auslan courses available fee-free from 2023.

The courses will be delivered by RMIT and Melbourne Polytechnic.

“This is an important investment that will have a ripple effect throughout our community by boosting the number of Auslan interpreters and making Victoria a more inclusive and diverse place,” Mr Tierney said.

RMIT vice chancellor and president, Alec Cameron said providing interpreting services and boosting the Auslan interpreter workforce in Victoria is critical to promoting inclusivity and accessibility in the Victorian community.

"RMIT is committed to improving inclusion and accessibility for all Victorians. We believe that accessibility in the modern workplace, places of education, at public events and within the community in general, must be a priority," Professor Cameron said.

"Today’s announcement will go a long way to satisfying the increasing demand for Auslan interpreters, directly help students train in meaningful careers, and provide a pathway to high-demand industries,” he said.

Free TAFE was introduced by the Labor Government in 2019 and has helped more than 100,000 Victorians gain access to training and rewarding career pathways, while saving them more than $240 million in course fees.

Since then, the initiative has grown to more than 60 courses, enabling more Victorians to gain access to training and helping to address the state’s skills and training needs for its future.

RMIT’s College of Vocational Education deputy vice-chancellor Mish Eastman said the addition of Auslan courses to the Free TAFE program would directly help students train in meaningful careers and help strengthen community participation and quality of life for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing Victorians.

“This new funding is key to removing the financial barriers faced by many students and ensures even more students have access to qualifications that can support Victoria’s deaf and hard of hearing community.” Ms Eastman said.

RMIT has a long history of delivering interpreting qualifications, with Its translating and interpreting program established in 1975, For more than 45 years it has delivered interpreting and translating certificates, diplomas and degrees, which are intrinsic to an inclusive society.

RMIT offers the Advanced Diploma of Interpreting (Auslan stream) and the Diploma of Interpreting, as well a range of other certificates and postgraduate courses.



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Rising interest rates bad news for vulnerable says Vinnies

RISING interest rates will put additional pressure on vulnerable Australians already struggling to survive as prices surge, wages stagnate and safe, secure housing slips further from reach.

St Vincent de Paul Society national president Claire Victory said, "Today’s rate rise will be another kick in the teeth for Australians living in poverty, who are already stretching every dollar to its limit.

"The surging cost-of-living, shortage of affordable housing, increasingly insecure work and stagnant wages are making it all-but impossible for a growing number of Australians to survive.

"Today’s interest rate hike will add to these pressures and disproportionately impact the most vulnerable people in the community, who are already struggling to get by, often with limited family or social support networks," Ms Victory said.

The St Vincent de Paul Society has released a suite of simple, compassionate and affordable polices in the lead up to the federal election and is urging parties and candidates to put Australians in need at the heart of their campaigns.

The cost of implementing these policies involves modest reforms to superannuation and taxation, asking only the most well-off and able to afford it, to pay a little more, according to the Society.

"Vinnies has stood by Australians in need for more than 170 years, providing emergency relief, housing, and other support services," Ms Victory said.

"Our election statement, A Fairer Australia, is informed by our members' experience meeting and helping Australians in need, and offers practical solutions to address widening inequality in households and communities, and lift many people out of poverty.

"We are calling on parties and candidates to take urgent action in the remaining weeks of the campaign to support Australians living in, or at risk of falling into, poverty," Ms Victory said.

More information on Vinnies' plans for A Fairer Australia and a fairer tax and welfare system:



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