House debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Questions without Notice

Aged Care

3:04 pm

Photo of Daniel MulinoDaniel Mulino (Fraser, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Aged Care. How is the Albanese Labor government supporting aged-care workers to upskill in order to overcome chronic workforce pressures and to lift the standard of aged care in Australia?

3:05 pm

Photo of Anika WellsAnika Wells (Lilley, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Fraser for his question. I know that he cares deeply about ensuring that we can do everything possible to support aged-care workers in the important work that they do in looking after our older Australians. The Albanese government recognises the immense value of aged-care workers. They are the beating heart of our aged-care sector and, as Australia's population continues to age, we need more of them.

We are already growing the aged-care workforce, but we know that it is critically important to make sure workers are adequately skilled to make and provide high-quality, safe care. That's why we are supporting aged-care workers to upskill and to give them the tools that they need to work in the sectors where we need them to work. Thanks to the Albanese government's Fee-Free TAFE program, 7,869 Australians have now enrolled in a certificate III course in individual support to work in either aged care or disability care. And 8,453 Australians have enrolled in the Diploma of Nursing. And today, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Skills and Training have announced a landmark National Skills Agreement to unlock billions of dollars for our vocational education and training sector, and I congratulate them both. We have also partnered with the University of Tasmania and the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre to deliver free online training modules. And of course we have invested $5 million in the Maggie Beer Foundation to help train and educate our age-care cooks and chefs.

Across the country I have met with providers who see the value in investing in our workers to upskill and pursue a career in aged care. Ningana aged care in Dalby has created a relationship with the University of Southern Queensland for workers to attend classes remotely. Zion Aged Care in Nundah in my electorate of Lilley takes on student nurses from the ACU campus at Banyo. The cumulative effect of these programs is that we are not just growing our age-care workforce but we are lifting the standard of care being provided to aged-care residents. Our September data for 24/7 nursing shows that coverage continues to increase across the country. Eighty-eight per cent of aged-care homes now have a registered nurse on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And over the past year older people in aged care have received an additional 1.8 million minutes of additional care every single day.

That's what can be achieved when people elect a government that has purpose, a government that values workers and a government that wants to restore dignity to older Australians.