Australia needs to almost triple its aged care workforce over the next three decades to meet growing demand, aged care minister Ken Wyatt says.
Mr Wyatt was commenting at the launch of the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce report, A matter of care – a strategy for Australia’s aged care workforce, in Canberra on Thursday.
The Productivity Commission projects the number of Australians receiving aged care will almost triple by 2050, to 3.5 million, requiring staff numbers to grow from 366,000 to almost one million.
“This means we must make caring a career of choice, with clear professional pathways, high community appreciation and strong self-respect,” Mr Wyatt said as he officially released the report with representatives from industry and consumer organisations, and taskforce chair Professor John Pollaers.
Mr Wyatt said the government would work with Professor Pollaers to implement the report’s recommendations.
The report contains a range of strategies, including a social change campaign to counter negative attitudes towards aged care workers, a voluntary industry code of practice, an industry reference committee to reform training and qualifications, and a new industry accord on the remote aged care workforce.
Thumbs up from industry, consumers
The industry’s peak body ACSA said providers welcomed the challenge of tripling the workforce.
“Workforce is one of the most pressing issues for the sector into the future,” CEO Pat Sparrow said in a statement.
“The Blueprint, correctly identifies that attracting and retaining the right staff is going to be critical to tackling this challenge. We will work with government to implement the practical suggestions for how industry can make aged care a career of choice, including for young people.”
LASA strongly supported the education and training measures, CEO Sean Rooney said.
He also said the proposed industry growth and research translation centre would be well placed to address research priorities.
“LASA Members are keen to be involved in the design and rollout of the Taskforce’s recommended actions to make sure they are practical, relevant and adequately resourced, so as to drive meaningful change,” Mr Rooney said
Consumer group COTA called on the government to work with consumer, union and provider representatives to implement the recommendations.
“COTA Australia welcomes in particular the recommendations to better reflect the value and contribution of personal care workers and nurses by improving their current pay deficiencies; identifying the appropriate skills mix of staff in a facility; and developing new career paths so workers can stay in aged care throughout their careers,” CEO Ian Yates said in a statement.
“The Strategy identifies the need to reframe the public’s perception of aged care into an industry that all Australians could aspire to work in by changing today’s negative attitudes to ageing into tomorrow’s caring industry of choice.”
COTA also welcomed reform of the skills and qualification framework, he said.
You can read more about the report here.