The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has urged organisations involved in aged care to make written submissions of their needs to the Department of Health on its Aged Care Workforce Strategy (ACWS).

The federal government is offering extensive consultation on the strategy, via its ACWS Taskforce and also invites written submissions for the next five weeks, including a series of community consultations with its chair, Professor John Pollaers in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Hobart.

“This is a great opportunity for our communities to have their say on this important issue,” FECCA chairperson Mary Patetsos said on Friday.

“We urge interested organisations to offer their views to the government, particularly on the special challenges facing aged care workers of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background,” adding that culturally and linguistically diverse Australians are heavily represented in the aged care workforce and often face discrimination and racism.

“They occupy the full range of occupations, from professional through to carers and support staff. The skills and welfare of our workers in aged care are so important that we urge everybody involved to take this opportunity to have their say,” Ms Patetsos said, demanding that workers in aged care are properly remunerated, respected, and provided with professional pathways.

Patetsos highlighted the importance of well-resourced, quality capability training as a requirement through the diversity framework, and staff trained and supported in cultural competency.

The lack of bilingual and bicultural aged care workforce, to match the needs of the diverse people in their care is a pressing issue amongst ethnic communities and “Australia’s migration program has to support the needs for a diverse and skilled aged care workforce,” according to Patetsos.

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