Former ACT chief minister and small business ombudsman Kate Carnell has joined the board of aged care and disability workforce platform Mable as it seeks to get more small business owners and sole traders on board.

The startup provides a virtual marketplace for independent support workers to connect with people seeking services, their families or case managers.

It is currently used by 11,000 service providers and has provided 5 million hours of service since launching in 2014 and last year helped provide a temporary surge workforce for providers affected by COVID-19.

The company is now aiming to attract small businesses and sole traders who are able offer services such as gardening or home maintenance.

Mable’s operating model hasn’t been without controversy and during the aged care royal commission it defended itself against criticism it was working outside the regulatory framework.

Key to workforce challenges

Ms Carnell says small business owners and sole traders offer a solution to the workforce challenges currently facing the sector, particularly in light of the roll out of new home care packages announced in the federal budget, and she’s looking forward to using her role with Mable to drive more participation from this group.

Kate Carnell with Peter Scutt

“The aged and disability support sectors are huge growth sectors with chronic workforce shortages,” she said.

“For example, the recent budget funding of 80,000 new aged care home care packages should be congratulated, but we now need to turn our attention to who will deliver the services and support.  

 “I know there’s a large number of Australian small businesses looking to provide support for people who are ageing and with a disability, however, the current system is complex. 

 “Mable is a unique platform that offers a new model of care, and provides huge potential for businesses and sole traders to access these growing industries.”

Mable’s CEO and founder Peter Scutt said Ms Carnell brings a wealth of experience in business and governance as the company moves into its next phase of growth.

“We’re extremely proud that someone of Kate’s calibre has joined the Mable board. We welcome her to the business and look forward to working with her to better establish small businesses and sole traders in the aged and disability sectors,” he said.

Ms Carnell became ACT chief minister in 1995 and following her resignation in 2000 has held numerous executive positions including CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CEO of Beyond Blue.

She was appointed Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman in 2016 and in 2017 led a review of national aged care quality regulatory processes in response to a report into failures at South Australia’s Oaken aged care facility.

This story first ran on Community Care Review.

Main image: Kate Carnell.

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