Date published: 
29 May 2020
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Australian Government is a step closer to establishing a registration scheme for aged care workers, ensuring all staff are suitable to work with senior and vulnerable Australians.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck said a public consultation paper released today offered the opportunity to better regulate staffing across the sector.

“What we’re looking for is a registration scheme that screens all aged care workers, without putting a red tape burden on them or service providers,” Minister Colbeck said.

“We also want to make sure that workers are still able to move between sectors, employers, regions and states as circumstances change.”

Currently, nurses and some allied health practitioners working in aged care such as physiotherapists and podiatrists, are required to maintain registration to practise under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health practitioners.

“There is no centralised screening or checks in place for other direct care workers, such as personal care workers to provide assurance to the community around public safety for senior Australians receiving care,” Minister Colbeck said.

“But their skills and character are equally important and can be a huge influence on the safety and quality of life of people receiving care, in both residential and in home care.”

The consultation paper details the objectives of an aged worker screening or regulation scheme, key issues that the scheme could address and existing regulatory models in related sectors.

It is available via the Department of Health’s Consultation Hub.

Feedback on the advantages and disadvantages of proposed features of a regulatory scheme can be provided via the online survey until 29 June.

A detailed options paper for consideration by the Government will be prepared once the consultation is complete.

A scheme may be introduced in stages, with full implementation possible as early as 2022.

The Morrison Government has also requested a proposal for the development of a model for a new aged care centre for growth and translational research.

The proposal request can be viewed on AusTender.

Following the acceptance of a model, tenders will be sought for a consortium to establish and operate the research centre from early 2021.

“The Government is working with the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council to reform the aged care workforce and ensure quality care for all senior Australians,” Minister Colbeck said.

“This is important ground work to ensure the care and wellbeing of those people in our lives who we care about most and will reinforce the framework for a strengthened sector for the future.”