Moana Hope joins La Trobe to launch Australia’s first care economy research institute

Leading figures within the care economy space, researchers, politicians and industry joined former AFLW star and media personality Moana Hope to celebrate the launch of the La Trobe University Care Economy Research Institute.

Former AFLW star and media personality Moana Hope opened up about her lived experience as a caregiver for her father during her teens, and now for her sister Vinny. She spoke to the challenges of navigating the care system – from communication issues with government services to difficulty setting up vital medical appointments due to long wait times.

Moana’s advice to attendees, many of whom were representatives from different areas of the care sector, such as housing, care services, aged care, as well as universities and research, came down to the importance of just that – ‘care’.

“I think there are so many people out there who need help… I see what people go through and on top of that (there’s) where we are going as a society with the cost of living. I think when you do your job… do it with kindness because people are doing it really tough.”

Institute Director, Professor Irene Blackberry, joined Moana on stage, with Professor Richard Gray facilitating a panel session. Professor Blackberry spoke about CERI's mission to ensure La Trobe research is translational and impactful in the everyday lives of our communities, and to bring nation-wide change by harnessing the collaborative partnerships between industry, government and higher education.

“Care is very personal. We can use technology, definitely (it) is an important part of what we (CERI) do, and we need it embrace (it). But, at the end of the day, the point of difference from any other industry is that care is very personal – you need a person to deliver the care,” said Professor Blackberry.

The floor was opened for questions, before attendees were encouraged to take advantage of the impressive crowd and network.

The care economy is the fastest growing industry and the largest single employer in Australia, with over 1.8million people, mostly women, currently working in health care and social assistance jobs. In addition, the informal care sector is growing at a rapid rate.

CERI will expand the University’s exceptional research and teaching capability in the health and wellbeing space, as well as strengthen and create new partnerships with multiple healthcare providers, government, education, and research facilities across Australia and globally.

La Trobe University is investing over $20 million in the institute over the next five years. CERI will look to address the needs and growth predictions of the care economy, targeting research across five main domains:

  • Care Technology
  • Care Workforce
  • Care Delivery
  • Care Experience
  • Care Economics, Social and Policy.

Through CERI, the University aims to reduce the siloed approach to the current sectors within the care economy and the institute is the first attempt to connect diverse care sectors comprehensively as one industry in Australia.

To learn more, visit Care Economy Research Institute.