Chief Executive Officer of Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) Sean Rooney has welcomed the finalisation of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce’s findings presented in ‘A matter of care – a strategy for Australia’s aged care workforce’ by the Chair Professor John Pollaers OAM.
“On behalf of Leading Age Services Australia and our Members, I thank Professor Pollaers and the Taskforce for completing this important work,” Mr Rooney said.
“The Taskforce has presented 14 strategic actions that seek to holistically address the workforce challenges arising from Australia’s ageing population.”
Mr Rooney said workforce issues are of critical importance to the aged services industry and LASA has been extensively involved in the Taskforce’s consultation processes.
“Late last year, LASA Members identified their top workforce priorities, formulated solutions at LASA’s National Workforce Forum, and provided these to the Taskforce,” Mr Rooney said.
“Priorities included: improved training for the aged care workforce, together with improved workforce rewards and a dispelling of the negative image of aged care.”
“LASA Members are keen to be involved in the design and roll-out of the Taskforce’s recommended actions to make sure they are practical, relevant and adequately resourced, towards driving meaningful change.”
Mr Rooney said earlier this year, the Taskforce recommended the Australian Industry and Skills Committee establish an Aged Services Industry Reference Committee (IRC) to ensure that the education and training systems meet industry and community expectations.
“LASA strongly supports this response to workforce development and initial and ongoing training of aged care staff,” Mr Rooney said.
“We look forward to working closely with and being represented on this IRC.”
Mr Rooney said LASA also supports industry leading the development of a code of practice for the sector and driving the cultural change across our industry and the wider community.
“The proposed code of practice needs to be a practical and streamlined approach to supporting outcomes above the minimum set by the new aged care standards being rolled out over 2018-19,” Mr Rooney said.
“Essential to this, is fair resourcing of the sector that reflects the true costs of care and capacity to train and retain quality staff.
“The current funding system is not sustainable and a national solution to funding the growing cost of aged care is required.”
Mr Rooney said the Aged Care Industry Growth and Research Translation Centre proposed by the Taskforce is a welcomed announcement.
“The Centre would be well placed to address research priorities such as identifying optimal models of care that are linked to the aged care standards and determine the workforce skill mix such models require,” Mr Rooney said.
“The Centre would also provide an opportunity to develop aged care policy that is based on research evidence.”
Mr Rooney said the future for Australia’s aged care workforce is promising, and there are many excellent career opportunities, working in either age services directly, or in the professions and trades that service our industry, where people can be challenged and rewarded, all while making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
“We have particularly appreciated Professor Pollaers’ willingness to consult closely with the industry throughout this process,” Mr Rooney said.
“LASA looks forward to seeing the final report and working collaboratively to lead in its implementation.”
LASA CEO Sean Rooney (second from right) with other sector leaders, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt and Shadow Minister for Ageing Julie Collins working on workforce strategy at Parliament House