Targeted attention on remote aged care workforce welcome

Release date: 07 Nov 2018

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), the peak body for not-for-profit aged care providers delivering the majority of aged care services in remote Australia, welcomes yesterday’s announcement of the Accord on the Remote Aged Care Workforce - one of the 14 Actions from the recent Aged Care Workforce Strategy.

 

The Accord group, formed by experienced remote aged care providers and expert organisations, will be chaired by ACSA member Chris Hall, CEO of Juniper WA (UnitingCare) and Deputy Chair is Praveen Gopal, Operations Manager, Aged Care and Disability Services at MacDonnell Regional Council, Northern Territory.

“ACSA members regularly tell us of the significant difficulties they have in recruiting and retaining appropriately trained and skilled staff in remote areas - which have the highest level of skills shortages in Australia and experience unique challenges."

“Research undertaken for the Aged Care Workforce Strategy found that being located in a remote area does not only increase the chances of an employer experiencing skill shortages, but also makes the job of resolving them much more difficult,” ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow said.

“Actions to tackle workforce issues in remote and very remote areas call for very specific actions, informed by on-the-ground experience by those who deliver services in these areas.”

On announcing the Accord, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the group will focus on: “practical action, with the aim of supporting senior Australians to live close to home with the care they need, provided by people they know and trust, who are well trained and connected with their communities”.

“That is an aim ACSA supports fully. The ongoing delivery of, and support for, aged care in remote, rural and regional communities is absolutely paramount,” Ms Sparrow said.

“However, action to address both financial and workforce issues is sorely needed. A recent financial survey by StewartBrown highlights that currently 63.5% of facilities in these areas are reporting losses. This has grown from 56% last year with the number of unviable aged care facilities set to continue to grow.”

“ACSA is committed to supporting the work of the Remote Accord so that older Australians, important in the social fabric of regional communities, can continue to be supported to remain lining in their local areas.

“Our congratulations to Chris Hall and Paveen Gropal, worthy appointments who we know through ACSA membership, are very experienced in delivering aged care services in remote areas.”

Forty per cent of aged care jobs are regionally based underpinning the economies and communities in those areas of Australia. [1]

The aged care industry employs 2.8% of the Australian labour force. The aged care industry has a large and diverse workforce, from nurses and care workers to management, hospitality and administrative staff, that directly employs more than 366,000 workers.[2]

The health and aged care industries were among the fastest growing industries on SEEK in 2017 with job ads rising by 11.1%.[3]

Aged Care Workforce Strategy:  https://agedcare.health.gov.au/reform/aged-care-workforce-strategy-taskforce

StewartBrown financial data: http://www.stewartbrown.com.au/images/documents/StewartBrown---ACFPS-Sector-Report-June-2018.pdf

Media contact: Heather Witham, ACSA National Government Relations Manager 0437 911 276

 

[1] HESTA, Transforming Aged Care, Reimagining the aged care workforce of tomorrow, May 2018, p.19.

[2] Australian Government, Department of Health, The Aged Care Workforce, 2016, March 2017, p.xvi.

[3] https://insightsresources.seek.com.au/australias-booming-industries.

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia

 

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