Boost to Aged Care workforce welcomed by Southern Cross Care Qld

15 June 2023

Aged care workers from Papua New Guinea who will fill critical roles in Queensland centres have been welcomed by Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ).

The workers are the first to arrive from PNG and be employed in the aged care sector under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme and have arrived PNG provinces including Western Highlands, New Ireland and Morobe.

CEO Jason Eldering said that SCCQ was delighted to welcome the new staff, who will take up roles at their aged care homes in Chinchilla, Murgon and Taroom.

“We are grateful to have skilled, professional staff from PNG to provide safe, quality care in areas where we have been experiencing workforce shortages,” Mr Eldering said.

“Expanding this program into the aged care sector is something we welcome, as an industry who is facing challenges in recruitment and retention, particularly in our rural and remote communities where it is even more difficult for people to access high quality care and support.

“The arrival of these workers will be enormously beneficial, and they will be warmly welcomed by our residents, families and loved ones, staff and within the communities where they will live”

SCCQ was delighted to welcome Consulate-General of Papua New Guinea Joanne Waine to its support centre in commemoration of this important development.

“We will ensure that our new arrivals feel valued for the important contribution they make by bringing their skills, vibrancy and diversity to our homes,” Mr Eldering added.

Mr Eldering added that the support for expanding the program from Minister Conroy, as well as Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells has been most welcome.

“The PALM scheme has already successfully brought more than 600 aged care workers from Pacific nations and Timor Leste into Australian centres where they have been well received and we look forward to the expertise in caring for older generations our PNG workers will bring,” Mr Eldering said.

“At SCCQ we have an unwavering commitment to providing quality care in a respectful and compassionate way and we are pleased to be expanding our workforce with carers who understand and share those values.”

Southern Cross Care Qld employs over 1,000 staff who provide services for more than 2,000 people through a network which includes thirteen aged care facilities, five retirement villages, and home care services across Queensland.

This is the first time that PALM scheme workers from PNG have been employed in Australia’s aged care sector and is part of an Australian Government commitment in support of PNG’s ambitions to increase its participation in the PALM scheme.

The total number of Pacific and Timorese workers under the PALM scheme in Australia has risen from just over 24,400 a year ago to just over 38,000 today.