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Photo: Gary Ramage, News Corp Australia

Coalition promises aged care workforce research centre

If re-elected, the Liberal government will fund a new targeted research centre charged with ensuring Australia has an adequate aged care workforce.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the $34 million Aged Care Workforce Research Centre will ensure the nation builds the workforce needed to meet the demands of an ageing population.

Associate Professor Briony Dow, director of the National Ageing Research Institute, said the centre would provide a priority driven approach to research and translation, a pipeline for innovation and commercialisation, and an expert advisory source for aged care workers, the government and industry.

“In Australia, there is a gap between evidence and practice,” Dow said. “An Aged Care Workforce Research Centre would bring together clinicians, researchers, industry leaders and policy-makers to identify gaps and priorities, and facilitate uptake of best practice.”

Should the centre get the green light, NARI raised its hand to lead its establishment. If NARI was appointed, Dow said within the first year the institute would work to develop a national priority-driven aged care research plan, a governance model for the centre and design a knowledge hub.

“This would touch on workforce practice improvement in areas such as dementia care, elder abuse and combatting social isolation,” she explained.

Aged & Community Services Australia chief executive Patricia Sparrow also welcomed the election promise, but added political parties need to take action that will make a difference to older Australians right now.

Sparrow said while the research centre proposal demonstrates that the Coalition recognises that aged care will need significant resources invested into future jobs growth, the peak is still concerned that neither major party has committed to, among others, areas like a short-term funding injection into residential care, the 40,000 level 3 and 4 home care packages needed to breakdown the waiting list backlog or the oral health crisis in aged care.

“Parties that commit to these urgent priorities will send a clear message that they recognise and care about our ageing population and those who care for our elderly,” Sparrow said.

“Our leaders can’t use the royal commission as an excuse to delay urgent reforms that will improve aged care right now.”

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One comment

  1. We need skilled staff and ratios not another investigative, research, paper pushing government funded body filled with staff with expense accounts. We need ratios and skilled nurses .