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ANMF calls on members to submit to aged-care Senate inquiry

The Australian Senate is accepting submissions for an upcoming inquiry into the future of Australia’s aged-care workforce. This inquiry and subsequent report will look at the current composition of the workforce, challenges in attracting and retaining aged-care workers and how government policies at all levels affect impact workers in the sector.

These lines of inquiry were mapped out in the terms of reference, released on December 1, 2015, and also include emerging issues such as the challenges of creating a proficient and inclusive industry to cater for the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, cultural and linguistic diversity; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

“We know anecdotally that there are struggles around inclusivity,” Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, one of the champions of the inquiry, said. “The inquiry will investigate how best to harness a culturally competent aged-care sector that encourage quality aged-care delivery and skill development, and a positive working environment.”

Also under the microscope will be how aged care is delivered in rural, regional and remote centres, as well as classic industrial relations matters such as remuneration, working environment, staffing ratios, education and training, and upskilling.

Public submissions to the inquiry are open until March 4, 2016. Annie Butler, acting federal secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, called on her union’s members and other interested parties to make their thoughts known on this topic.

“We can no longer ignore the plight of older, vulnerable Australians living in nursing homes,” Butler said. “We are encouraging our members who work in aged care, the families of the elderly nursing home residents they care for and all of our supporters to let the Senate inquiry know what needs to be done to fix aged care. It’s time that we demand dignity for older Australians.

“At a time when there is a shortage of 20,000 aged-care nurses, this inquiry will be crucial in assessing how we are to recruit and retain a sustainable workforce now and into the future for the sake of the people they care for.”

For more information or to make a submission to the inquiry, go here.

Click to hear more from Butler.

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