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Work to improve the aged care workforce underway with IRC members announced

The Industry Reference Committee (IRC), established earlier this year to review and develop national competency standards for the aged care services industry, is set to commence work “immediately” following the appointment of its members.

The new IRC has announced it's 21 members - made up of consumer advocates, peak industry bodies and employer and employee representatives (Source: Shutterstock)
The new IRC has announced it's 21 members - made up of consumer advocates, peak industry bodies and employer and employee representatives (Source: Shutterstock)

Comprising of 21 members - made up of consumer advocates, peak industry bodies and employer and employee representatives - the IRC will consider the competencies and skills needed for the future aged care workforce, acting on the key findings of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce report released in September.

Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, says the need for a dedicated focus on the aged services industry’s skilling and workforce requirements was a “major finding” from the Taskforce’s engagement with industry.

“While the Royal Commission into the aged care sector is set to go about its important work, our Government’s aged care reform program will continue at full pace,” he says.

“The A Matter of Care report was developed by industry, for industry, and I look forward to the Aged Services IRC helping to ensure workers have the appropriate skills and qualifications.

“With the aged care workforce set to grow from approximately 366,000 now to almost one million by 2050, this is a top priority.”

Minister Wyatt further thanked Professor John Pollaers and the members of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce for their support of the Aged Care Industry Reference Committee.

Fellow Federal Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, Michaelia Cash, also welcomed the appointment of the IRC members, noting that workforce qualifications and standards are “fundamental to quality aged care”.

“Every Australian deserves respect and the best possible care, and the Coalition Government is committed to ensuring our dedicated aged care staff not only have the right skills, they also enjoy rewarding and fulfilling careers,” she says.

“Bringing together an independent, industry-led body will work with the sector and the Australian community more broadly to drive meaningful responses to important workforce issues.

“The IRC will work right across the vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sectors to meet the challenges of an ageing society.”

Aged Care Peak Body - Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) - has welcomed the appointment of the IRC members, and the work they will do in developing the future skills and training requirements of the aged care workforce.

ACSA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pat Sparrow also welcomed the organisation representation within the IRC, with ACSA member Mark Sewell, CEO of aged care provider Warrigal, named as one of the 21 on the Committee.

“I look forward to this Committee making a valuable contribution to tackling that challenge of skilling and resourcing the aged care workforce into the future by working across the vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sectors with provider, consumer and employee representatives,” Ms Sparrow says.

She adds that the peak body will “continue to proactively work towards creating the right fit workforce equipped with the appropriate mix of skills to meet the care needs of older Australians”, and says they will work closely with the IRC to develop those skills and competencies.

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