Aged & Community Services Australia is pushing for industry support to redesign enterprise bargaining agreements in response to the rollout of consumer directed care.

The introduction of CDC across all home care packages from 1 July is expected to lead to a greater diversity of service types and models and this would require “modern and flexible” industrial arrangements, the peak body said.

Over the coming years, ACSA said it would focus on providing evidence to the Fair Work Commission’s Modern Award Review as an area of priority.

In a new position paper released on Thursday, the peak body said it was seeking to build the capability of its members to design contemporary EBAs that enabled providers to redesign new roles and “build responsiveness to consumers.” It called for support and resources to undertake this work.

“There is a strong need for modern, flexible industrial instruments and work arrangements, including more competitive employment packages for people working in aged care,” the paper said.

In outlining its approach to a new aged care workforce strategy, ACSA CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly said the challenge was not simply to find more workers but to respond to changing skill sets and care models.

As Australian Ageing Agenda reported in January, ACSA has been working on a new workforce position paper to inform the Federal Government’s forthcoming aged care workforce development strategy.

ACSA’s final report, which is the culmination of several months of research and consultation among its members, makes a series of recommendations in the areas of technology support, mandatory units of competency in training and targeted funding for volunteers.

In particular, ACSA has recommended the government provide a specific budget allocation from the forward estimates for sector-wide leadership development, as well as prioritising managing a culturally diverse workforce. This includes supporting staff from culturally diverse backgrounds to move into leadership roles, the paper said.

Another area highlighted by the paper is the shift to a wellness and reablement approach. To help facilitate this, ACSA said certificate-qualified staff should be allowed to increase their skills and competencies to provide assistance with exercise and allied health programs, exercise, reablement and medication administration.

In the area of recruitment, the aged care sector should continue to target older female workers, at the same time as reaching out to early career workers and graduate nurses, where there is currently an oversupply, said ACSA.

“It is likely that this over-supply of graduate nurses will be a short-term measure so it is important that aged care providers act quickly to implement programs to attract and provide support to graduate nurses,” the paper said.

ACSA said there would also be an opportunity to increase the use of nurse practitioner roles within the sector. However, current supervisory requirements were an impediment.

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