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Online workforce platforms are game changers: Wyatt

Minister for aged care Ken Wyatt has opened the new headquarters of an online marketplace that connects workers with clients.

The Better Caring platform supports people with a disability or those who are ageing to find and hire local care and support workers.

Peter Scutt, founder of Better Caring, said the company partners with approved providers who will host and administer a client’s home care package. The consumer is free to choose and schedule workers according to their needs and preferences.

Wyatt said new workforce systems like this will be a game changer, allowing people to remain at home longer and providing more flexibility than ever before. “This site is a prime example of the power of technology to directly connect people and services,” he said.

Over 20,000 people have signed up to the platform. COTA Australia chief executive Ian Yates said the rapid growth of Better Caring underlines the preference of many consumers for self-managed packages of support and care at home, and government policy needs to support and enable this.

“Self-managed home care packages mean that consumers can arrange services that best meet their needs, when and where they want; and also purchase significantly more hours of care and support, from workers who they know and trust,” Yates said.

Scutt said: “When it boils down to it, what we are trying to do here is spark a new conversation about ageing in place and develop products which put choice and control back in the hands of the consumer and worker”.

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  1. What seems like a good idea does have its drawbacks for the approved provider holding the funds for the consumer. The current legislation makes the ‘fund holder’ (the approved provider) wholly responsible for the work of the carer. If the carer is a person employed directly by the approved provider/fund holder then that is not a problem because they are their employee, but if the carer is chosen by the consumer from the lists of candidates on the Better Caring website – from what I gather all Better Caring does is do a Police Check on them – why should the approved provider/fund holder be responsible for the quality of their work or any injuries sustained by their work practices? If Minister Wyatt and Mr. Ian Yates want this freedom of choice for the consumer then change the Aged Care Act to state that if the consumer wants to chose their carer from a website then the consumer takes responsibility for their decision making. Better Caring is not held responsible for the quality of care given by the people signing up on their website as carers, the approved provider/fund holder is held responsible under current legislation.

  2. How will superannuation contributions and workers compensation be paid to workers in these self-managed arrangements where consumers are looking for cheaper services? Who will ensure the future needs of an ageing workforce operating in these arrangements are not neglected at the expense of consumer choice?