The Government has launched a new committee to look into the training and structure of the Australian aged care workforce.
The review is likely to consider aged care sector pay, after the Aged Care Workforce Strategy’s report, ‘A Matter of Care’, identified that aged care workers are underpaid by as much as 15 per cent.
The report recommends that industry develops a “strategy to support the transition of personal care workers and nurses to pay rates that better reflect their value and contribution to delivering care outcomes.”
The Aged Services Industry Reference Committee has been established to make sure the aged care workforce in Australia is properly structured and trained so that it is able to deliver safe and quality care to older Australians.
The IRC will bring industry, health professionals, education and training, peak groups, and consumers together to determine the skills needed to be able to provide a high standard of care to seniors in Australia.
The Committee was established in response to recommendations made in the Aged Care Workforce Strategy in its report which was released by the Government on 13 September this year.
Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, Senator Michaelia Cash, said aged care staff are entitled to have “rewarding” careers.
“Every Australian deserves respect and the best possible care, and the Coalition Government is committed to ensuring our dedicated aged care staff not only have the right skills, they also enjoy rewarding and fulfilling careers,” Minister Cash said.
“The IRC will work right across the vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sectors to meet the challenges of an ageing society,” she said.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, said one of the Taskforce’s key findings was a gap between industry skills and workforce requirements.
“The ‘A Matter of Care’ report was developed by industry, for industry, and I look forward to the Aged Services IRC helping to ensure workers have the appropriate skills and qualifications,” he said.
Minister Wyatt said the the aged care workforce is set to grow from approximately 366,000 now to almost one million by 2050, making reform “a top priority”.
Professor John Pollaers OAM, who is chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, which established the Aged Services IRC and who also chaired the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, welcomed the industry’s strong interest in contributing to the IRC.
“The Aged Services IRC will bring together industry, consumers and other key stakeholders to identify the skills needed in the aged services sector to deliver safe and quality care,” he said.
“The IRC will have an important role in examining the skill requirements for current and emerging job roles across the sector, improved approaches to career progression, and the education pathways across both the vocational and higher education sectors needed to support these,” he said.
Professor Pollaers said, “Through the course of the Taskforce’s work, substantial issues were identified around the skills gaps, lack of career pathways and delivery of current training.”
The Aged Services IRC will include consumer advocates, health professionals, peak industry bodies and employer and employee representatives. Click here to find out more about who will be involved.
Click her to read the Aged Care Workforce Strategy’s report, ‘A Matter of Care’, in full.