Aged care workforce review: unions banned

The Australian Government has announced an "expert taskforce" to develop a wide-ranging aged care workforce strategy.

 

The Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, said the work of the taskforce would be inclusive, with exhaustive national consultation.

"The taskforce will reach out to senior Australians and their families, consumer organisations, informal carers, aged care workers and volunteers. It will also consult with many others including unions, health professionals, universities and the health, education, employment and disability sectors", said the minister for Aged Care.

That sounds pretty good, but there are a few issues which suggest this aged care workforce review doesn't properly represent all stakeholders.

There's a problem with the composition of the "expert taskforce". It has twelve members. Four are aged care provider CEOs. One is COTA Australia, an organisation who previously campaigned for compulsory reverse mortgaging of the family home as a means of funding aged care. The other seven members are departmental staff (2) and academics (5).

In other words, neither consumers nor employees are represented on the "expert taskforce".

"The people who look after our elderly are among the hardest workers in society. It's unfathomable that the Government would review their industry without consulting them", said Gerard Hayes, Health Services Union NSW Secretary.

CPSA is likewise appalled at the blatant stacking of the "expert taskforce". Consumers and workers will be consulted by the taskforce, but they will be excluded from its deliberations, excluded from drafting its recommendations and excluded from having a say in how they are going to be looked after when they need care.

The taskforce will report to the Minister for Aged Care by 30 June 2018.