Leading Age Services Australia supports gender parity

ON INTERNATIONAL Women's Day, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, pledged its support for gender parity and said recent funding cuts to workforce training and development by the government had been detrimental to women.

"Workforce development is a priority area for aged care and a critical component of a national workforce strategy, but if we are serious about gender parity at a national level we must recognise and address existing barriers in our own industry," LASA CEO Patrick Reid said.

"Millions of dollars have been cut from aged care workforce development and training in recent years, mostly to the detriment of women.

"While women form the overwhelming majority of the aged care workforce, they continue to be under-represented at board and executive management level. On the other hand, due to existing scopes of practice, nursing staff

who do not wish to move into management roles are faced with limited career pathways," Mr Reid said.

"Our recent submission on the future of Australia's aged care workforce notes that barriers to training such as a lack of time or high out-of-pocket costs limit people's options for career advancement."

"This is even more challenging in rural and remote areas where providers face higher costs associated with staff development due to interstate travel and accommodation expenses, in addition to extended time away from the workplace and family."

"Technology skills gaps also create gender disparity and are further pronounced between age groups. With more than 60% per cent of the aged care workforce in their 50s and increasing implementation of technology in care delivery and administration, ensuring staff are adequately skilled is a critical workforce development issue for our industry."

"As we face increasing workforce shortages and growing demand for age services, we need to encourage more people into aged care. To do so we need legislation and policies that support flexibility, scope of roles and stable funding for training and development."

"This International Women's Day, LASA calls on the Turnbull Government to increase funding for aged care training and development to improve gender parity and to ensure our workforce is adequately skilled to meet the growing demand and changing needs of our ageing population," Mr Reid said.

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