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Provider calls for Senior Cabinet Minister for Ageing to deliver leadership required for aged care sector

18th October 2019

Not for profit aged care provider today called for strong leadership to tackle workforce issues with a Minister for Ageing, sitting on Cabinet demonstrating a powerful commitment to Australia’s ageing population.

Speaking at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety this week, Ms Sandra Hills OAM, CEO of Benetas and also member of the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council, said there is much work to be done and this cannot be done by the Workforce Council or providers alone.

When asked by the Council Assisting if the Department of Health was currently providing enough leadership, Ms Hills responded with ‘No, more leadership would be welcome’.

The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council is charged with delivering 10 of the 14 Strategic Actions identified in Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy, A Matter of Care. The remaining four Strategic Actions involve collaboration between different parts of Government.

However Ms Hills said she was unsure how the Department of Health was preparing itself to support the Council in delivering on the Strategic Actions.

“I am not sure how the Government is structuring itself to work with the sector in the roll-out of the 14 Strategic Actions,” she said.

“The Workforce Council has a big body of work in front of it. It is in process of finalising its strategic plan but there is a lot of work to be done. Additional resources will assist in giving government, industry and the community confidence that we can deliver on the Strategic Actions.

“We need to agree on a starting point, a voluntary code of practice, then we need to increase leadership capacity and succession planning to ensure workforce culture does not change as leadership changes.”

Ms Hills also spoke about the need to share good examples of models of care and workforce recruitment and retention and supports the establishment of an Aged Care Industry Growth and Research Translation Centre as identified in A Matter of Care.

“We need trail blazers and experts in the sector to be given the opportunity to share experiences and ideas,” she said.

“The industry needs to lift capability collectively and educational providers need to partner with industry to design programs that are fit-for-purpose and aligned with the workforce strategies.

“At Benetas, we continue to collaborate with TAFE and Higher Education providers to design and deliver programs that support a capable, passionate and engaged workforce.

Ms Hills said she hoped that supporting older Australians to live their best life would be a key policy objective of the Federal Government.

“I am looking forward to the outcomes of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the opportunity for transformational changes to be made to better support the industry and ultimately older Australians.”