A system under which workers could be banned from the sector would discourage people from coming to work in aged care, he said.
“We support registration that would encourage and promote training and enhancement of skills,” Hayes said.
The HSU argued in its submission to a Senate inquiry examining the former government’s bill that banning orders were “likely to cause serious financial and reputational harm to an individual” and constituted “serious and extensive” powers.
“HSU is opposed to exclusion and individual blacklisting as a default,” the submission said. “We advocate for a regulatory authority that is empowered to consider individual worker actions and organizational practices and systemic issues.”
Aged & Community Care Providers Association interim chief executive Paul Sadler said the association supported “taking more time to get worker registration processes right”.
“Interaction with nursing and allied health registration and interface with the NDIS registration process need to be resolved,” he said. “We need to take time to support personal care staff to get prepared for a transition to a registration model.”
The bill also contains a provision that will give aged care providers immunity from prosecution for using physical and chemical restraints. The government will release an exposure draft of the quality of care principles that will guide the consent process for restrictive practices in the coming weeks.
The Greens have tabled an amendment seeking to delete this provision but it is not expected to succeed.
Aged Care Matters’ Dr Sarah Russell, who unsuccessfully ran as an independent in the seat of Flinders at the federal election, said the Albanese government “will be remembered as the one that stripped many older Australians of their fundamental legal and human rights” if the bill passed unamended.
Joseph Ibrahim, a geriatrician and head of Monash University’s health law and aging research unit, said workforce registration was a complex area and would cost money to set up and run.
“It’s a key step towards strengthening the workforce capability, training and being able to ensure we have workers with the skill sets required for the care required in a contemporary system,” he said.
“The worker registration is only the first step – in and of itself, it is not enough. Setting a minimum standard and stipulating the qualifications needed for workers is part of this concept, which creates pressure to improve pay and access to formal training.”
Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.