Senior advocates have praised the Federal Government’s 15 per cent pay rise for aged care workers as a crucial step in recognising their vital contributions to the healthcare system.
The upcoming Budget will reportedly see Labor committing $11.3 billion towards funding a substantial 15 per cent pay increase for aged care workers, matching the recent Fair Work Commission’s directive for the sector.
The significant investment is expected to draw more staff to the sector and will be a vital step forward towards the government’s commitment to improving the quality of aged care in Australia.
As per The Guardian, Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said the move will “ensure that quality aged care workers are less likely to contemplate leaving the sector because of pay concerns.”
“Fair wages play a major role in attracting and retaining workers to provide around-the-clock care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people,” Wells said.
Because it’s the fair thing to do. pic.twitter.com/m5RiZRXzHb
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) May 3, 2023
COTA Australia Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Sparrow welcomed the move, claiming that raising wages in aged care is essential to achieving better outcomes in the system.
“You can’t have a great aged care system if you’re not paying the people working in the system what they deserve,” Sparrow said.
“The aged care workforce is essential to ensuring the health, wellbeing and dignity of tens of thousands of older Australians. Older people know that paying workers fairly for the job they do is crucial.
“There’s no doubt the aged care workforce has been undervalued for far too long. This is a fantastic announcement and one which will make a marked difference to the sectors’ ability to attract and retain quality aged care workers in Australia.
“This funding boost will, among many things, help ease the workforce pressures and ensure we have nurses available 24/7, which was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care and something older Australians have long advocated for.”
While Sparrow welcomed the funding announcement she did stress that the money needs to be “implemented properly” to ensure quality care for aged care residents.
“This isn’t just about paying workers what they deserve, this is also about ensuring older Australians get the quality care they need, so we need to make sure it’s implemented properly,” Sparrow said.
The recent funding announcement comes in the wake of the closure of several residential aged care facilities in Sydney, which left hundreds of elderly residents without a place to call home.
On Thursday, April 13, Wesley Mission announced the closure of their Sylvania, Carlingford, and Narrabeen aged care facilities, with staff shortages being blamed for the decision.
Wesley has pledged to relocate all 199 residents prior to the closure of the three centers at the end of May and has appointed MyCarePath to support residents in choosing a new home.
According to government regulations, residents are not obligated to vacate until suitable accommodations have been secured.
Moreover, around 249 staff members will be reassigned to alternative roles either within the organisation or with external providers.
While announcing the closures, Wesley CEO and Superintendent, Rev Stu Cameron said, “the Aged Care sector is experiencing challenges to workforce and flow-on impacts from the national reforms to Aged Care.”