LIBERALS TAKE 18 MONTHS TO DELIVER A STOCKTAKE

One year, five months and 29 days.

The Abbott/Turnbull Government has finally delivered stocktake of Government funded aged care workforce initiatives – and it only took 547 days!

Unsurprisingly the report highlighted that the Government’s approach to aged care workforce development was haphazard and suffered from a lack of direction.

Labor welcomes the release of the much-anticipated stocktake, but wonders how long it will take the lackadaisical Liberal Government to deliver a strategy to address the aged care workforce crisis.

Aged care in Australia has been neglected and ignored by the Abbott/Turnbull Government, illustrated by the fact it took almost 18 months to produce a stocktake of programs it funds.

During those 547days the aged care workforce has languished while the Government dealt with its failed and expensive machinery of government experiment, which saw Aged Care moved from the Department of Health to the Department of Social Services and back to Health again.

The stocktake of federally funded aged care workforce initiatives was announced on 13 June 2014 “to help inform the development of an aged care workforce development strategy,” (Aged Care Sector Committee – Communique, 13 June 2014).

That decision was made more than eight months (262 days) after the Liberal Government delivered one of its few promises: scrapping the Aged Care Workforce Supplement, designed to provide better wages and conditions for some of Australia’s lowest paid workers, most of them women.

Since then Labor has repeatedly called for the Government to lead the development of a strategy in collaboration with the sector, to address the current shortages and future needs.

The aged care workforce needs to triple over the next 30 years due to the ageing population. However, the sector currently is experiencing workforce and skills shortages at a time of high unemployment.

After 18 months of inaction and inertia the Abbott/Turnbull Government has finally admitted it may need to do more.

Let’s hope it take a lot less time for action.