The inquiry has resumed after being put on hold prior to the federal election in June, and has received nearly 300 submissions from both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors.
Chair of the Community Affairs References Committee, WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, indicated that the inquiry was showing which areas need improvement in the years to come, with staff training and retention at the top of the list.
She told Pro Bono Australia, "The issues that have come up are around inconsistent and inadequate training, remuneration and wages, lack of a career path and concerns about the growth of the workforce into the future, which keeps coming up again and again.”
Siewert also flagged concern regarding the plight of aged care services in regional Australia, as well as the fact 'dodgy' workers can move between states without tracking.
"A number of witnesses have supported the idea of some sort of national approach to accreditation and strong support for better standards of training as well as issues of regional delivery. It’s quite obvious in Alice Springs that we need to look at the delivery of services in remote Australian and the appropriate approach to consumer directed care.
“We need to get the systems right so that people can be confident that when they are training people that people have the right support and career development.
“As well we have heard that dodgy workers can move between states and there is still no proper tracking. We have been hearing in the territory that people can move between one provider to another particularly remotely.”
Siewert said that cuts to aged care funding were preventing the sector from providing competitive remuneration. The inquiry has received a submission from the National Aged Care Alliance, which has advocated an integrated approach across workforce planning and remuneration in all the care industries including health, disability and community service.
“This strategy should work towards greater coordination across the social services sectors and should focus on recruitment, retention, education, development and remuneration to ensure that the workforce needs of each of the sectors are met,” the submission said.
Public hearings as part of a parliamentary inquiry into the aged care industry have highlighted employee training inconsistencies, accreditation needs and concerns over future staffing levels.