Better health and ageing for all Australians

Living Longer. Living Better.

Workforce

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Addressing workforce pressures ($1.2 billion)

An appropriately skilled and well qualified workforce is fundamental to the delivery of quality aged care across both the residential and home care sectors. The Government understands that to enable the aged care sector to cope with the growing number of older Australians, it is essential to build the capacity of the sector. This includes through better training, increased wages, changes to the workforce structure of the sector, better work practices and improved quality in delivery of care.

Aged care services continue to have difficulties in attracting and retaining sufficient numbers of skilled and trained workers. The turnover rate of workers in the aged care sector – 25 per cent - is higher than other comparable sectors. This has led to reduced productivity, higher training costs as well as negative impacts on the quality of care. Aged care needs to be promoted as a career of choice to allow Australia’s aged care workforce to grow from 304,000 workers in 2010 to around 827,100 by 2050. To do this, qualifications, competency standards, access to career development and skills training need to be updated.

To achieve these outcomes, the Government will provide additional funding to aged care providers who take steps to improve the terms and conditions of their workers. A Workforce Compact, developed by an independently chaired Advisory Group in consultation with the sector, and endorsed by the Government will ensure that workforce reforms lead to improvements in terms and conditions for the aged care workforce, to generate better care and services for older Australians. Due to the nature of the matters to be considered by the Advisory Group the Chair will be appointed by the Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations in consultation with the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing and the President of Fair Work Australia.

The Government is committing $1.2 billion to implement the Workforce Compact over four years from July 2013 through changes in the Conditional Adjustment Payment. Employers will also be expected to contribute to the implementation of the Compact.

The key elements of the Workforce Compact will be to improve the capacity of the aged care sector to attract and retain staff through:
  • higher wages
  • improved career structures
  • enhancing training and education opportunities
  • improved career development and workforce planning
  • better work practices
These improvements will be outlined through the Workforce Compact and provided through workplace bargaining to ensure benefits are delivered directly to workers.

A Conditional Adjustment Payment will also be introduced for Home Care packages and corresponding arrangements will be put in place for providers in the Commonwealth Home Support program through funding agreements.

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