8 August 2011

“Critical Aged Care Report to be released today”

The Federal Government will today release the long awaited report by the Productivity Commission on Aged Care in Australia.

The Productivity Commission’s Draft Report released in January this year highlighted a number of critical weaknesses in Aged Care across Australia. While over one million older people receive aged care services, the system, it was found, is difficult to navigate, identified gaps in service coverage, inconsistent and inequitable user charges, and a workforce is under considerable pressure.

Among a raft of proposed recommendations, the report highlighted the plight of Aged Care workers including the areas of working environment and wages for Carers and Nurses.

Health and Community Services Union (HACSU), Assistant State Secretary Tim Jacobson highlighting the plight of Aged Care workers in Tasmania said today, “workers in the industry are struggling every day to meet the basic needs of elderly Tasmanians, the industry has been in decay for over a decade which is largely as a result of the failure of consecutive Governments dealing with funding to the sector.”

The evidence is that the workforce across the Aged Care Sector in Tasmania is ageing and the industry has struggled over many years to make the industry attractive to young workers.”

The test for the Federal Government today will be in its own response to the report and ensuring that funding to the sector is able to address the many issues affecting the industry. In submissions provided to the Productivity Commission HACSU called on the Productivity Commission to make several recommendations to the Federal Government, these were:

• The major reasons for workforce shortages include low wages and conditions, excessive workloads and strenuous work.

• Funding for aged care providers should be increased on the condition that providers pass on a proportion of these increases in funding to wages for workers. Without this, aged care providers will not be able to attract and retain the workers they need.

Tim Jacobson said “much of the work undertaken by Aged Care workers is not unskilled and workers need to be adequately compensated for their skills and qualifications.”

ABC Online Report: Advocates give Aged Care report tick of approval
Tim Jacobson, HACSU Assistant State Secretary