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Call to add Aged Care Workers to SOL

With the number of people in Australia aged 85 and older projected to quadruple to more than 1.8 million over the next 40 years, Australia’s Age Discrimination Commissioner warns that, “We need to recognise and plan for this increased need for health service provision. This is an urgent and critical challenge for Australia: if we don’t provide properly for aged care, we will have a human rights disaster on our hands.”

Speaking at the National Aged Care Alliance meeting in Canberra on Friday, Australia’s Age Discrimination Commissioner Ms Susan Ryan has requested that the Minister for Immigration consider including ‘aged care worker’ on the skilled occupation list.

Ms Ryan said that many valuable aged care workers came from recent immigrant populations and through “more targeted immigration initiatives” Australia could increase the number of skilled aged care workers.

She also singled out career changers as another important source of potential workers for the sector.  “Increasingly, aged care workers also come from other parts of the labour market, from second or third career moves, or people coming from declining sectors – and aged care can be a good option for older workers who are having difficulty finding jobs,” she said.

Ms Ryan said a ”looming human rights disaster” in the provision of aged care could be diverted, but only if society placed a higher value on careers in aged care. Central to this would be better opportunities for immigrants and career changers, she said.

“We do not have enough now and unless we introduce new approaches, we won’t have anywhere near enough in 40 years,” says Ms Ryan.

Courtesy: Jerry Gomez- Migration Alliance

Administrators note:

This sounds similar to the recent call to consider nannies or home help professionals to the 457 shortage list due to the increasing shortage of skilled child care personnel to work in child care centres and as nannies for families under financial pressure to have both parents working.

Society clearly places little regard or consequence in the care of its youngest and oldest members of society- clearly both vulnerable to neglect. The former are the future of our world and the latter have done their bit and perhaps deserve some dignity for a job done.

Subject to ensuring the candidates have appropriate skills and qualifications there appears to be little choice of face more unregulated or unlicensed workers in the field- both old be disastrous.