Mainstreaming support for workforce integration

Page last updated: 18 December 2015

The Government is combining funding for the aged care and health workforces into a single stream, recognising that a more flexible and integrated approach will better meet the health needs of the nation’s ageing population.

The Aged Care Workforce Development Fund, the Rural Health Outreach Fund and the Health Workforce Fund are being combined into a single Health Workforce Programme.

These funds have been separately providing funding pools for initiatives to develop the skills of their workforces and to provide access to a skilled workforce in rural and remote areas. However these are often the same workforces across health and aged care, especially in rural areas. This will now be done through the one Health Workforce Programme.

The change will better align funding and reduce duplication between health and aged care services and will have no direct impact on consumers of these services. The integration of funding will also support the development of approaches to workforce that include both aged care and health systems, recognising that the workforce underpins all health and aged care service delivery, and is a significant driver of costs to these systems.

With Australia’s ageing population putting increased demands on the health and aged care systems, a sustainable workforce that is integrated across both sectors will be needed to address Australia’s future health and aged care needs. This is especially the case with an increasingly ageing population needing support through the medical, nursing, personal carer and allied health workforces.

As part of the integration, Government support for aged care-specific workforce activities will be integrated into health workforce programs already available.

In line with the Government’s high prioritisation of Indigenous employment issues and dementia support, all existing Indigenous aged care workforce specific activities and dementia training will continue. Dementia activities will transition to the Dementia and Aged Care Services fund to join the overall suite of dementia support programmes. While specific Indigenous aged care workforce activities will transition to the Health Workforce Fund, the overall priorities for the Health Workforce Fund will need to be determined.

The Government will continue to work with employers and stakeholders, in both the public and private health and aged care sectors, to ensure that training and education numbers and pathways meet Australia’s future health and ageing workforce needs.

The current programmes offered through the Health Workforce Fund provide support to a range of health professionals that also work in the aged care sector. These include registered and enrolled nurses, allied health professions and Aboriginal Health Workers and practitioners. The Commonwealth also provides funding through a National Partnership Agreement with the states and territories for the delivery of VET sector training for the health, aged care and related workforces.

As well, the Government will continue to provide significant support and funding for workforce activities to provide access to health and aged care services for Australians in hard to reach areas, such as for Indigenous communities and in rural and remote areas.