New group tackles sector's problems

A group, newly created to help the aged care sector attract and retain staff through higher wages, improved career structures and enhanced training and education opportunities, met for the first time in Canberra last week.

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, recently announced the appointment of Commissioner Anne Gooley as the Chair of the Aged Care Strategic Workforce Advisory Group.

Ms Gooley, a Commissioner at Fair Work Australia, will now lead the development of an Aged Care Workforce Compact in close consultation with the aged care sector and unions.

“One of the major constraints to growing the aged care system to meet the needs of older Australians is workforce shortages,” Mr Butler said.

Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, added: “Not only do we want to see improvements in aged care, but better jobs for workers in the sector.”

Through the Living Longer, Living Better aged care reform package, the federal government will provide $1.2 billion over five years to tackle critical shortages in the aged care workforce.

The Compact will reportedly result in a “tripartite commitment” between government, unions and aged care providers to tackle the workforce problems confronting the sector.

It will ensure a skilled workforce is attracted and retained to meet growing demand for more skilled staff in the sector.

Commisioner Gooley was appointed to Fair Work Australia in January 2010. Previously she was public interest litigation principal at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and has a teaching and research background.

She also has extensive experience in workplace relations and, according to Mr Shorten, will work closely with all aged care stakeholders to develop the Compact.