Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

New training package to assist aged care workers

The Australian Government today announced a training package that will assist aged care providers dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people.

The package, which is being developed through a partnership with ACON, Australia’s largest community-based GLBT health and HIV organisation and the Aged and Community Services Association of NSW and the ACT, was launched in Sydney last Friday by Federal Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek.

The Government has delivered on an election commitment by amending the Aged Care Act 1997 to enable same-sex couples to enjoy the same entitlements and obligations as other families for health and ageing programs.

Ms Plibersek said the $400,000 package supported the Australian Government’s determination that everyone in our society deserved to receive the same high-quality services in health and aged care.

‘While we can change the law, the greatest challenge will be in generating changes in attitude,’ Ms Plibersek said.

‘That’s why the Government is working with aged care and health providers, as well as GLBT stakeholder organisations, to build the capacity and knowledge to deliver appropriate and responsive care to older GLBT people.

‘The training package will primarily raise awareness of GLBT issues among service providers and the broader community.

‘It will facilitate social inclusion, decrease discrimination, ensure older GLBT people are visible in an aged care setting and improve sensitivity amongst aged care service providers.

President of ACON Mark Orr said: ‘ACON, as Australia’s largest community-based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) health and HIV/AIDS organisation, has been cognisant of the need to work with the Aged Care sector for a number of years.

‘In our current Strategic Plan, it is a goal of the organisation to improve the health of older GLBT people in partnership with mainstream service providers,’ Mr Orr said.

‘While ACON has self-funded a range of initiatives over the past decade, it is very exciting that in this, our 25th year, we will be embarking on our first large scale project in this important area.

‘We warmly welcome this support from the Australian Government, and look forward to working with the Aged and Community Services Association to deliver an education program for NSW-based residential aged care facilities on issues relevant to GLBT older people.’