Media Releases

Marshall and Morrison inaction on skills shortages in disability sector exposed

January 30, 2022

Marshall and Morrison inaction on skills shortages in disability sector exposed


The Federal and SA Governments’ lack of action to address skills shortages in the health, aged care and disability sectors has been exposed with some COVID positive workers having to continue working while unwell, in the absence of alternatives.

The failure to address skills shortages has put workers and providers in the impossible position of choosing between withdrawing care for high-needs clients, or allowing COVID positive workers to provide that care.

Secretary of SA Unions Dale Beasley said the focus should not be on providers and workers, who are doing their best in very difficult circumstances, but on the Government’s inability to undertake workforce planning.

“Despite massive increases in demand for health, aged care and disability services in recent years – and more projected with an aging population and shift to community-based support – there has been no workforce strategy for these sectors in our state,” Mr Beasley said.

“The system was understaffed before COVID. Now the situation has laid bare how truly unprepared the SA health system was for Marshall's border reopening, despite his retorts that our health heroes were scaremongering when they raised their concerns.

“We need a strategy for attracting and retaining more young people and mature aged workers into these workers, including a lift in pay and conditions.

“This crisis has exposed the lack of preparedness and planning undertaken at both state and federal level.”

Mr Beasley said unions had raised the issue of workforce planning with the Marshall Government for some time without a response.

“Workers have been advocating through their unions for a proper workforce plan, better pay and conditions to attract and retain workers in these sectors for years. The government has taken no action and, in many cases, has refused to even meet and discuss the concerns.

“This situation is a direct result of the Government’s unwillingness to listen to workers about the issues facing them and their sectors.”