Aged Care Expansion program celebrates first PALM scheme graduates

  • Joint media release with:

The Hon Anika wells MP, Minister for Aged Care, Minister for Sport

Thirteen Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme workers from Kiribati have today become the first graduates of the Australian Government's PALM Aged Care Expansion program.

The program builds on two successful aged care pilots. The expansion program will see an additional 500 PALM scheme workers attain Australian aged care qualifications and work for up to four years in regional and rural Australia.

The workers completed eight weeks of study in Kiribati before travelling to Australia for work placements at Highfields Manor Aged Care in Port Macquarie, New South Wales.

They graduate today with a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and will go on to complete their four-year PALM scheme placement at Highfields Manor.

There are currently more than 700 PALM scheme workers employed by residential aged care services in regional Australia. The Government is working closely with the Pacific family and Timor-Leste to grow the number of PALM scheme workers in our aged care sector.

Pacific workers are helping to fill workforce shortages in regional Australia, enriching local communities across the country. At the same time, they send valuable remittances home to their families and communities and develop important skills that will benefit their communities when they return home.

Quotes attributable to Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:

“A huge congratulations to these thirteen I-Kiribati workers who are the first to graduate under this aged care program, with many more to follow in their footsteps.

“These workers from the Pacific do not only look after older members of our community and fill critical workforce gaps in our aged care sector. They also make a significant contribution to the economies of their home countries and strengthens relationships across the Pacific.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Aged Care, the Hon Anika Wells MP:

“We warmly welcome a further 500 PALM scheme workers through the PALM Aged Care Expansion program, who join over 700 members of the Pacific family and Timor-Leste already helping to address workforce shortages across the country.

“The professionalism and commitment they bring to their workplace is enriching the lives of the older Australians in their care and helping to restore dignity to the sector.”

Quotes attributable to HealthX CEO, Simon Small:

“The natural compassion, warm nature and family-orientated values of Pacific peoples are ideally suited to carer roles. Our clients are delighted with the quality of care that residents are receiving.”

“In turn, we can provide personal and career development programs and good salaries that enable HealthX's PALM employees to enjoy a high standard of living whilst in Australia, while providing support to families back home. It's a win-win scenario.”

Quotes attributable to I-Kiribati PALM scheme worker at Highfields Manor Aged Care and ACE participant, Akineti Tearu:

“The training with HealthX has been a great opportunity for us because we have learnt how to meet the needs of the residents.

“I am so grateful that I have the team at HealthX as they not only have supported us to fulfil our dreams but have helped us adapt to the Australian culture.

“We now feel confident and understand the roles that we have been employed for, so we can provide the best care for our residents.”

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7840
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555