UnitingCare looks forward to working with the Australian Government to deliver a robust aged care workforce strategy that will underpin a sustainable future for the aged care industry. Key areas that must be addressed include:
1. training and skills development, to support entry and transition to the aged care sector, as well as new skills to meet the needs of an innovative and responsive industry;
2. raising the profile of the sector as a potential employer, and ensuring that conditions and career pathways reflect the importance of aged care to community wellbeing; and
3. research and development in the sector, to ensure quality and efficiency outcomes and to capture the potential of aged care, as a growing service industry, to contribute socially and economically.
Critical issues that will need to be recognised and addressed in parallel include:
1. policy, funding and regulatory frameworks that enable a ‘permeable’ interface between markets for community services: aged care, disability services, health etc.;
2. regulation and quality standards for in-home/community and residential aged care, and systems of monitoring, to maximise outcomes for the aged community and to ensure that employees within the sector experience safe and meaningful work;
3. the future of the workforce as other sectors decline, and in the longer term, technologies such as processing automation and robotics reach maturity.