What was your highlight/s for 2023?
There were lots of highlights this year including the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase wages for aged care workers by 15%, and I hope we get to see that recognition and reward extended to all other workers in the sector including hospitality staff.
The Government’s recent investment of $2.194 billion to raise the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) is also welcome as it will go a long way towards funding the wage increases, directly aiding all aged care providers in meeting their commitments to staff.
The establishment of the Aged Care Taskforce to investigate how the sector can be more sustainably funded was also a highlight. I firmly believe funding is the unfinished business of the Royal Commission, with the level of choice, care and support senior Australians expect to be paid for somehow.
I am also very proud of how Uniting has been showing leadership and innovation in implementing new technologies to benefit our residents and clients such as a 3D food printing trial and Smart Glasses technology for real-time telehealth consultations, all aimed at improving health outcomes and well-being with a focus on preventative care and reducing the need for hospitalisations.
What are you most looking forward to in 2024?
I am looking forward to the recommendations to come out of the Aged Care Taskforce early in 2024 as I believe they are committed, with the Minister’s backing, to come up with solutions to bring the sector out of crisis mode and make it more sustainable, including for the rebuilding of older homes, fair wages and for the standard of care our senior citizens deserve.
I also look forward to continuing Uniting’s excellent work in ensuring older people have access to integrated care and support so they can live with choice and dignity – a key pillar of our Uniting 10-year strategy and one we are absolutely committed to.
What book/s will you be reading over the summer holiday break?
I have already been given a lovely book as a Christmas gift – ‘Bright Shining: How Grace Changes Everything’ by Julia Baird. I love the idea of grace, so I am looking forward to being inspired for the year ahead.