The annual reports of the largest aged care providers in the Illawarra demonstrate the mixed fortunes sector in the Illawarra, after years of scandals and closures across aged care centres, however one of the region's largest aged care providers posted a nearly $5 million loss this year.
The aged care sector was one of the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic, and has been grappling with an increasingly challenging business model as costs mount and the most high need patients remain in care.
In its annual report, Illawarra aged care provider IRT posted a $4,490,567 loss after what it described as a difficult yet productive year.
"This has been a year of progressing long-ranging solutions that will, in turn, help strengthen IRT for the future," CEO Patrick Reid said.
Amid the headline loss, the company increased its revenue by 10 per cent, and Mr Reid said the organisation was looking towards a newly endorsed 10-year strategic plan for the not-for-profit.
"The plan requires significant investment, but it will reap rewards. To achieve this, we are focused on streamlining what we do, building capacity where we need it and reducing costs where we can," he said.
Fellow aged care provided Warrigal Care reported a net surplus of $3,109,000 in the 2023 year.
The organisation had previously reported a $4 million loss in 2022.
Contributing to the positive result was the additional income from the merger of Multicultural Aged Care Illawarra, which Warrigal absorbed in October 2022.
The company's revenue grew from a net loss in 2022 to a $29,207,000 result in 2023.
The significant bump in revenue for the organisation was driven by the purchase of Warrigal Wollongong, formerly IRT's Links Seaside village adjacent to Wollongong golf course.
Both services indicate that they plan on expanding their footprint in the years to come, with IRT redeveloping its sites in Kanahooka and Towradgi in the next 12 months and Warrigal looking to purchase a site in the ACT and build on sites in Lake Illawarra and Albion Park.
However, the uncertainty in the sector remains, with the financial reports of IRT setting out the challenge ahead for the sector.
"Across the aged care services industry, there remain a large number of uncertainties which have impacted, and are likely to continue to impact the operational activities and financial performance of the Company. This will likely continue in the short to medium term until such time as the impact of the pandemic is lessened, the new funding model across both aged care and home care is effective, the ability to attract, develop and retain a skilled workforce is improved, and revisions to the pricing authority and mandated minimum care minute reforms are fully operational."
A significant ask.
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