All new aged care workers and volunteers will be required to undergo police checks from tomorrow (1 March, 2007) to ascertain their suitability to work with frail elderly Australians.
The Minister for Ageing, Senator Santo Santoro, said the checks would then be implemented progressively for existing staff and volunteers in aged care throughout this year.
?Any person with a conviction for murder or sexual assault, or a conviction for any other form of assault which resulted in a prison sentence, will automatically be precluded from working in aged care,? Senator Santoro said.
?Refusal to obtain a police certificate will also preclude a person from employment in aged care.?
In the case of less-serious convictions, aged care providers are now required to consider factors such as the position held by the employee and the extent of contact with residents when making decisions about hiring staff.
?With the implementation of this requirement for police checks, the Howard Government is delivering on its commitment to ensure the safety and security of our older citizens who rely on the aged care sector,? Senator Santoro said.
?We have already delivered on our promise of one unannounced spot check for each aged care home every year.?
?Legislation currently before Parliament will give force to the remaining elements of our $100 million security reform package, including compulsory reporting of abuse, an Aged Care Commissioner and a new complaints scheme.
?Taken together, these changes will increase the security of older people in care. More importantly, they will increase community confidence in the aged care sector, and give peace of mind to residents and their families.?