Aged care funding papers over chronic problems

The Morrison Government’s response to the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations on COVID-19 will not provide the staffing levels, training, or transparency needed to end the crisis in aged care.

The Morrison Government first refused to take responsibility for the aged care system during the pandemic and has been slow to act despite clear demands from workers and the Royal Commission.

Despite previous announcements, aged care workers report that in many facilities infection control measures urgently recommended by the Royal Commission still aren’t in place, and where they are, already overstretched existing staff are being asked to take on these additional responsibilities.

As stated by ACTU President Michele O’Neil,

“This Government needs to take responsibility for the years of understaffing and low wages in aged care. There have been 685 preventable deaths caused by COVID-19.

“The crisis in aged care won’t be turned around by one announcement, this Government shows no commitment to the long-term change which it has been told again and again is necessary.

“We need minimum staffing levels with a mandated mix of skills on every shift in every workplace. This announcement takes us no closer to this goal.

“Mandated training requirements are urgently needed to ensure that workers and residents are safe. This announcement will do nothing to improve training.

“In the midst of a crisis in aged care which has been exacerbated by a pandemic, aged care workers need more funding, and they need that funding to be tied to outcomes for staff and residents so it cuts through the bloated for-profit system.

“Yesterday the Morrison Government opposed legislation to require aged care providers to publicly report on how they spend their revenue. Accountability for government funding is long overdue.

“We have been willing to work with the Morrison Government on this issue. So it is deeply regrettable that they continue to ignore the expertise of the workers in the sector.”

Details for Press Conference:

Who: ACTU President Michele O’Neil, ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler and Assistant Federal Secretary Lori-Anne Sharp, aged care workers from Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

When: 10.30am Tuesday 1 December 2020

Where: Senate Courtyard, Parliament House Canberra

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