GOVERNMENT TO “OUTSOURCE” LEADERSHIP ON AGED CARE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

The Turnbull Government will “outsource” its leadership functions, having walked away from a promise made over 500 days ago to develop an aged care workforce strategy.

During Senate Estimates on Wednesday night the Department of Health confirmed there had been no movement in the development of a strategy, saying “the Government wants to assist industry in them leading the development of a strategy.”

Senator Helen Polley challenged this assertion, reminding the Government that the former Minister responsible for aged care had promised they would take the lead in developing a strategy following the audit of Government funded workforce programs.

“What concerns me, and what is a major concern for the sector, is that we won’t even have a strategy from this Government before I need aged care.”

[SENATOR HELEN POLLEY – ESTIMATES – 10 FEBRUARY 2016]

Senator Nash said it was not the Government’s role to lead the development of a strategy.

“The Government can’t be responsible…”

[SENATOR NASH – ESTIMATES – 10 FEBRUARY 2016]

“Well over two years ago this Liberal Government promised to make the development of a workforce strategy a priority,” Shadow Minister for Ageing Shayne Neumann said.

“During Senate Estimates they revealed they had no intention of providing any leadership, preferring to outsource that to the sector.

“One of the first things this Government did was to demolish Labor’s $1.2 billion Aged Care Workforce Supplement, designed to improve wages and conditions for aged care workers. They then promised the sector they would develop a strategy.

“Here we are, almost at the end of the Liberal Government’s term, and they have not only failed to address this issue, they have broken every promise they made to older Australians, aged care workers and providers.”

“Aged care workforce development is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the sector and is not an optional policy area for the Liberal Government,” Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care, Helen Polley said.

“The Government has a responsibility to produce a plan to deal to ensure the demands of our ageing population are met by an adequately skilled and equipped workforce -this is something they must show leadership on.

“The lack of vision on this topic during Senate Estimates leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the care of vulnerable older Australians.

“Our aged care sector and older Australians will suffer if this Government doesn’t change its attitude towards ageing and aged care – they are giving Australians every reason to fear getting older.”

Malcolm Turnbull has shown older Australians and the aged care sector that when it comes to keeping promises, he is no different to Tony Abbott.