Labor’s plan to fix the crisis in aged careMedia Release
An Albanese Labor Government will stop the neglect and put security, dignity, quality and humanity back into aged care for older Australians.
“Our plan will put nurses back into nursing homes, giving carers more time to care. It will lift wages in the sector, deliver better care and improve transparency and accountability,” Federal Member for Corangamite Libby Coker MP said today.
Labor’s detailed five-point plan will:
- Require a registered nurse on site 24/7 in residential care
- Give carers more time to care through an increase to 215 minutes of direct care a day
- Formally support a pay rise for aged care workers
- Require better food for residents
- Require more transparency in the system so we know taxpayers’ money is going on care
“The global pandemic and a Royal Commission have confirmed what so many Australians already knew – our aged care system is in crisis,” Ms Coker said.
“More Australians are living long enough to need extra care in our later years. But currently that thought fills a generation of Australians and their families with dread.
“There are aged care workers who show up to work every day and do their absolute best. And they will be the first to tell you that the system is at breaking point.
“Those workers do some of the most important and compassionate work in our communities, yet they get paid $21 per hour; less than someone who stacks shelves in a supermarket. This must change if we are to retain and attract skilled aged care workers to the sector.
“Donna is a personal care attendant in a local aged care facility in my electorate. She spoke passionately at a recent community forum I held in Armstrong Creek about low wages, insecure work, and the frustration of being unable to properly care for frail, elderly, and vulnerable residents.”
Donna’s words at the community forum included:
I love my job. I wanted to make lives better but now we are facing a roadblock. We’ve got six minutes to put each resident to bed each night.
“Donna’s hourly rate has only increased by $7 in the 11 years she has been employed in the aged care sector. She earns $21 per hour. This is a disgrace,” Ms Coker said.
“She said more staff are desperately needed to improve resident-worker ratios. Currently in the high-level care unit she works in, there is only one staff member for 12 residents.
“This makes it hard for Donna to change a soiled continence pad, give medicines and carefully wash a frail resident before bedtime.
“The Morrison government is refusing to do anything to help Donna and Australia’s aged care workers.
“The coalition has refused to implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission, and it is our elderly relatives and loved ones who are suffering.
“Australians fear that the final chapter of their life and the lives of those they love will be an aged care facility that can barely meet their needs, let alone afford them real dignity.
“For far too long the Morrison Government has turned a blind eye to operators who put profit ahead of the people - they can’t be trusted to fix their broken system.
“Labor deeply believes that the older Australians who built this country deserve aged care homes that genuinely look after them.
“We will make aged care a place people want to work, knowing that they will be respected and valued for the unique work they do.
“Labor’s plan will change aged care in this country for the better, end the neglect and ensure older Australians and their families receive the care they deserve,” Ms Coker said.