RFBI CEO, Frank Price visit to Parliament House

Sonia Lim 31 Mar 2023

RFBI CEO, Frank Price, along with representatives from Uniting NSW & ACT, BaptistCare, Catholic Health Australia and the Health Services Union (HSU), visited Parliament House on Tuesday 21 March to present to the government a range of actions they would like to see undertaken to address the workforce shortage being felt across the aged care sector and secure the sector’s financial sustainability.

Workforce shortages are not a new challenge for the aged care sector and RFBI has been working hard to attract enough staff to meet the needs of residents and clients.  Where local staff are not able to found, RFBI has looked internationally to fill the gaps. RFBI was proactive in approaching the Fijian market once we had our Labour Agreement in place, allowing the organisation to recruit internally qualified registered nurses under a temporary work visa. RFBI, in conjunction with Key 2 Learning, created a new program called Global Citizen Exchange Program being the first of its kind which allows international aged care workers to gain experience in Australia for up to twelve months. Combined, these initiatives have secured an additional 53 staff for our residential care villages and a further 50 are expected to be onboarded before the end of the financial year.

While these strategies have helped, RFBI is committed to working with other providers, Unions and our peak body, to advocate to the government on proactive steps they can take to better support the aged care sector and provide appropriate funding.

Amongst the actions put forward by the group were:

  • Indexation rates that accurately reflect wages and operational costs in the sector, including outcomes of enterprise bargaining
  • Investigating a requirement that people with financial means contribute to the cost of their daily living costs whilst in aged care
  • A joint commitment to work with Unions and employers to ensure the next stage of the Work Value case is delivered as soon as possible and to all aged care staff, which includes funding for the increases and associated costs
  • Remove barriers that disadvantage foreign workers and that make aged care jobs in Australia less desirable than in other countries
  • Provide structured support to engage and develop local aged care workers

We are hoping that the shared vision presented will challenge our government to also embrace co-designing a better aged care system that will deliver for aged care recipients and their families.