Topic: Solving the workforce challenges of aged care in regional Australia

Day: Wednesday 14 October 2020

Time: 1:50pm – 2:10pm AEDT


The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) provides workforce solutions for rural and regional areas of Australia.The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) provides workforce solutions for rural and regional areas of Australia.
Many of these areas face recruitment and retention problems due to declining and ageing populations. In addition, the challenges of living in sometimes remote areas can make it difficult to attract employees.
Aged care is just one of many industries facing employment challenges in rural and remote areas that has benefited from the PLS.

The Scheme is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and connects workers from nine Pacific countries and Timor-Leste with Approved Employers in Australia. Participating countries are Kiribati, Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu.

Employers must meet a range of criteria to become approved under the scheme, including evidence of labour market testing to ensure Australian jobseekers have priority. 

The PLS is a demand-driven and employer-sponsored visa scheme, allowing workers to be employed in Australia for a period of one to three years.

Employers can specify the range of roles and skills required, including Australian level qualifications such as the Certificate 3 in Individual Support. Employers then interview and recruit from a pool of thoroughly screened workers.

Successful candidates go through pre-departure training to help them understand Australian customs, living conditions and what will be expected of them at work. Pacific labour mobility is a win for Australian employers, regional communities and workers from the Pacific and Timor-Leste. Employers gain access to an engaged and motivated workforce who live and participate in the local community, while workers gain valuable skills, training and income to take back home to their families. 

With nearly two years of experience connecting Pacific workers with aged care employers in Australia, we are seeing strong evidence of the positive impact the Scheme is delivering, which include:
• minimisation of recruitment costs 
• containment of staff turnover 
• qualified, engaged workers
• improved consistency of care 
• lower training costs
• uncapped participant numbers• reduced absenteeism 
• positive community impacts. 

This presentation will take you through those benefits and will provide real life examples with worker and employer interviews to explain how the PLS has started delivering an aged care workforce in rural and regional Australia. 

Interspersed with videos to illustrate how the Scheme is meeting demand, the presentation will conclude by explaining how providers apply for the scheme. 


Alison Boundy is honoured to be the Industry Coordinator for Aged Care and Social Sector at the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF), the dedicated team administering the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).
Alison has a passionate commitment to both the aged care sector and supporting rural and regional communities in Australia.

Alison first became aware of the Pacific Labour Scheme in her previous role with Bolton Clarke. Their facility in Longreach, Central Queensland struggled to attract and retain workers. The PLS provided the perfect solution with workers from Kiribati.

Alison also worked for the Queensland Government for more than 12 years, running specialist recruitment and workforce development programs across the state.

In her current role with PLF, she combines both of her passions by supporting the aged care industry in regional and rural communities, connecting them with amazing workers from the Pacific.

Alison calls Brisbane home and can’t wait to travel again!