The number of registered nurses working in aged care will be increased and strengthened, particularly in rural and remote areas, under a new payment aimed at rewarding clinical skills and leadership.
The $135.6 million commitment will also reward nurses who take on additional training responsibilities and recognises the invaluable contribution aged care nurses make across the sector.
Under the initiative, full-time registered nurses can receive a payment of $3700 for each year and part-time and casual registered nurses can receive payment on a pro‑rata basis, averaging $2700 each year.
On top of these payments, nurses can receive up to an additional $2,300 if they work in a rural or remote area, hold a postgraduate qualification or take on additional leadership or training responsibilities in their workplace.
Registered nurses working for the same aged care provider for 12 months will be eligible for the payment in both 2022 and 2023.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the Morrison Government was committed to reinforcing clinical support for senior Australians in residential care.
“This payment recognises the integral role of registered nurses in delivering high-quality care for our most vulnerable,” Minister Hunt said.
“We hope it encourages aged care nurses to continue working with older Australians and incentivises nurses in other sectors to explore a career in aged care.”
Minister Colbeck said the additional payment was extra recognition for the extraordinary work done by aged care nurses.
“This additional payment acknowledges the challenges faced by aged care nurses, particularly those working in rural and remote settings,” he said.
“We also want to recognise those registered nurses who go above and beyond to deliver high quality care to older Australians.”
There will be two eligibility periods for the payment, and eligible nurses will be able to receive both payments if they are employed for the 12 month periods - 1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022, and 1 November 2022 to 31 October 2023.
The payments are part of a suite of initiatives announced in the 2021-22 Budget to support and encourage registered nurses to work in aged care, including expansions to the Aged Care Transition to Practice Program and the Aged Care Nursing Scholarships
Aged care providers will need to apply for the Aged Care Registered Nurse Payment on behalf of their nursing workforce, in a non-competitive grant process.
Minister Hunt said providers should highlight the payment in their recruitment processes.
“Aged care nursing is a rewarding and sustainable career path, and the Government is supporting the workforce to grow and skill,” he said. “The payment will help to attract and retain skilled, compassionate and professional registered nurses to aged care.”
More information about the payment is available here.