Pacific workers to support Queensland’s aged care sector

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care
  • The Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Minister for Sport
  • Senator Paul Scarr, Senator for Queensland
15 October 2021

I-Kiribati workers will support Queensland’s aged care sector from today, in a significant step forward for the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.

The PALM scheme is the Australian Government’s new, integrated approach to the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme. 80 I-Kiribati workers departed quarantine in Grantham, Queensland yesterday to begin work.

Under the initiative, 32 I-Kiribati will work in aged care facilities in rural and regional Queensland for up to three years.

This is the first recruitment of aged care workers for Queensland employers since Australia’s borders closed due to COVID-19.

The Minister for the Pacific and International Development Zed Seselja said that PALM scheme workers are highly valued, and employers are increasingly turning to the PALM scheme to fill labour shortages.

“This recruitment will contribute to deep and lasting relationships between I-Kiribati workers and Queensland aged care residents,” Minister Seselja said.

The Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt welcomed the I-Kiribati workers to Australia.

“I hope this is the beginning of a great many more aged care recruitments under the PALM scheme, which we know is a win-win for aged care employers, residents and Pacific workers,” Minister Hunt said.

The Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck said that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional pressure on aged care workers and providers.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the I-Kiribati workers, and will also make a huge contribution to regional Australian communities and to the lives of aged care residents in Queensland,” Minister Colbeck said.

Senator for Queensland Paul Scarr said these workers would provide a much-needed boost to aged care services across the state.

“From Longreach, to Emu Park, right up to communities in our Far North, these skilled workers will provide much needed care to our elderly residents,” Senator Scarr said.

Of the 32 workers, 9 will work in 3 communities in Far North Queensland, while 23 will work at aged care communities in Longreach, Bowen and Emu Park.

To supplement their existing qualifications, all workers will undertake additional training in Aged Care Quality Standards, COVID safe practices, and cultural competence to further support their delivery of quality aged care services.

The remaining 58 I-Kiribati workers will support businesses in the meat processing sector.

Employers interested in recruiting workers under the PALM scheme should visit for further information.

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