The Accord on the Remote Aged Care Workforce is one of the 14 actions put forward by the recent Aged Care Workforce Strategy and is set to be led by experienced remote aged care providers and expert organisations.
Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced the Accord group, saying it will provide “a unified voice” for remote and very remote aged care services and is expected to meet at least four times a year.
“The industry-led Accord recognises the unique challenges and the importance of finding local solutions to support a safe and rewarding working environment to attract and retain remote area workers.
“The group will focus on practical action, with the aim of supporting senior Australians to live close to home with the care they need, provided by people they know and trust, who are well training and connected with their communities.”
Chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, John Pollaers, says the Remote Accord will “help lead the industry in maximising local workforce development and designing training and education experiences suited to people in remote settings”.
“It will also work with communities to support the safety of the aged care workforce and liaise with Governments on appropriate program and policy settings for better remote aged care delivery.”
Aged care provider peak body, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), has welcomed the announcement of the Accord, and of its Chair - Juniper Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chris Hall and Deputy Chair - Operations Manager, Aged care and Disability Services at MacDonnell Regional Council, Northern Territory Praveen Gopal.
ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow says the Accord’s aim is one she “fully supports, noting the peaks members regularly tell of the significant difficulties they have in recruiting and retaining appropriately trained and skilled staff in remote areas - which “have the highest level of skills shortages in Australia and experience unique challenges”
“The ongoing delivery of, and support for, aged care in remote, rural and regional communities is absolutely paramount,” Ms Sparrow says.
“[And] actions to tackle workforce issues in remote and very remote areas call for very specific actions, informed by on-the-ground experience by those who deliver services in these areas.
“However, action to address both financial and workforce issues is sorely needed.”
The Government adds that the new Accord is part of “continuing efforts” by the industry with the support of Government, to find “new and innovative ways” to provide services to senior Australians living in remote communities.
“The Accord will complement extensive new Government funding and places for regional and remote aged care, including $40 million for capital works and expansions, $105.7 million for an additional 900 residential and home care places for First Nations aged care, and the regional priority given to the more than 14,000 new residential places allocated in 2018,” Minister Wyatt concludes.