Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce Meetings

Page last updated: 14 January 2019

First meeting of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, 30 November 2017

The Taskforce met on 30 November 2017, with the focus on shaping the program of work needed to develop a strategy and report by 30 June 2018.

The purpose of the Taskforce is to develop a strategy for growing and sustaining the workforce providing aged care services and support for older people, to meet their care needs in a variety of settings.

The Taskforce discussed how recent reviews or inquiries have referenced or covered workforce issues, and will take these into consideration as part of its work. The reviews or inquiries include:

  • A Senate Community Affairs References Committee inquiry into the future of the aged care sector workforce
  • The Aged Care Legislated Review 2017 report
  • The Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes, and
  • An Australian Law Reform Commission wide-ranging inquiry on elder abuse, including aged care.

Discussion by members of the Taskforce centred on three broad areas:

  • The range of issues likely to arise under the Terms of Reference set by the Australian Government, as announced by the Minister of Aged Care on 1 November 2017
  • Shaping the program of work for the Taskforce, and
  • The range and types of consultation and engagement envisaged to ensure all voices are heard during the Taskforce’s work.

Notably, the Taskforce discussed a set of guiding principles to help shape the workforce strategy, together with five strategic imperatives to drive consideration of workforce issues, and shape and reframe thinking about the aged care workforce.

As an integral part of shaping the responses to the strategic imperatives, the Taskforce was briefed by several subject matter experts whose analysis and work are to be drawn on to support the detailed work to be done.

Second meeting of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, 13 February 2018

The Taskforce met on 13 February 2018, and considered a range of issues of relevance to building the workforce strategy. The issues were, grouped under the five imperatives being used to focus its efforts in shaping a workforce strategy. 

The Taskforce was briefed by commissioned subject matter experts on: 

  • emerging findings on why the aged care industry matters, starting with valuing older people as part of society
  • the current picture of the job families, roles and competencies evident in the current workforce, assessing these against globally benchmarked data, and with a particular focus on the personal care worker role
  • drivers likely to affect the future state of the industry, starting with demographic and including differing consumer expectations, changes in the world of work and emerging thinking about education and learning.

The Taskforce discussed the attention needed to secure more responsive education and training systems, both tertiary and vocational education and training. It noted action has been initiated with the Department of Education and Training to establish an Industry Reference Committee structure to revisit the vocational education and training packages for aged care. 

The Taskforce discussed the breadth of engagement and the range of opportunities open to organisations and individuals to contribute to the Taskforce’s considerations. 

The areas agreed by the Taskforce for specific or expert attention either through roundtables or Technical Advisory Groups are: 

  • diversity
  • employee needs and expectations 
  • health and aged care interfaces 
  • Indigenous workforce issues
  • rural, remote and very remote workforce issues
  • research and data
  • translation of knowledge and technology into care practices.

Third meeting of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, 10 April 2018

The Taskforce met on 10 April 2018 to discuss the feedback that they received through the consultation process and how this input will shape the Strategy.

The Taskforce acknowledged the strong engagement that they received from the community during the consultation process and confirmed that they would continue to consult with stakeholders to refine their thinking on strategic actions to address the issues that had been raised.

Key themes identified through consultations included:

  • the need to change negative public perceptions of ageing
  • ensuring that care is consumer-centred
  • broadening the definition of consumer to recognise the critical role of families and carers in supporting decision-making and care
  • improving workforce planning and training to better meet consumer expectations of care.
  • promoting the adoption of evidence-informed practice by aged care services
  • ensuring that concerns raised by the rural and remote workforce are better addressed

The Taskforce welcomed the announcement on 14 March 2018 by the Minister for Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, and the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP,  of the establishment of an Aged Services Industry Reference Committee (IRC). The IRC will review and develop the national competency standards for vocational training and implement reforms resulting from the Aged Care Workforce Strategy. Members noted that the creation of the aged care IRC represents an important step towards improving the skills and knowledge of the aged care workforce. 

Fourth meeting of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce 

The Taskforce met on 12 June 2018 to discuss the findings from an aged care industry employee survey, development of the Taskforce‘s report and proposed strategy, and considerations relating to implementation of the strategy.

One of the Taskforce’s subject matter experts, Korn Ferry Hay Group briefed the Taskforce on the findings from an industry Employee Engagement and Enablement Survey, including themes relating to: 

  • motivation to work in aged care 
  • leadership
  • links between engagement and workforce attraction and retention.

The Taskforce discussed the draft report, including the proposed strategic actions that have emerged from the Taskforce’s work, and factors that need to be considered to support implementation by the industry. 

Taskforce members agreed to give further consideration to the draft report prior to its finalisation and submission to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP by 30 June 2018.