Tens of thousands of aged care workers unite across Australia today to release their solutions – as the workers at the forefront – to the aged care crisis. Aged care cannot be left behind in the election campaign and aged care workers cannot wait for the Royal Commission to report.
Action can start immediately by implementing workers’ first ask, at least one more hour of care time a week. Dignity and respect for older Australians in care must be restored – and more time to care is the key. One more hour allocates more time for dignified personal and emotional care – basic needs that have been ripped from the system with this Government’s funding cuts.
Today members of Australia’s aged care unions – Health Services Union & United Voice join together to release their 5 point plan to ensure our aged care system delivers for Australia. The plan puts values, respect and fairness at the forefront of our aged care system:
MORE TIME TO CARE
- At least one extra care hour per resident, per week
- Mandated minimum staffing levels
- Access for all aged care participants to a multidisciplinary team of health professionals
A FAIR-PAY WORKFORCE
- Quality jobs with fair wages that reflect the importance of aged care work
- The right to a secure, permanent job
A QUALITY WORKFORCE
- A ‘fit-for-purpose’ accreditation scheme for aged care that reflects the needs of workers
- Develop career paths to recruit and retain a quality workforce
- Provide free, on-going TAFE training for workers and minimum qualifications for entry
FUNDING THAT MEETS NEEDS
- A funding model that ensures quality care and quality jobs
- Return the $2.1 billion that has been ripped out of aged care by the Coalition since 2013
- People over profit – hold business accountable to how they allocate public funds
HOME CARE THAT CARES
- Give home care recipients the care time they need
- Restrict the use of insecure zero-hour contracts, agency and labour hire work
- Allocate time for work meetings for home care workers
- Blitz the waitlist for the tens of thousands of older Australians waiting for home care.
JOINT STATEMENT – Gerard Hayes, HSU National President and Helen Gibbons, Assistant National Secretary, United Voice:
“Like all Australians, we alongside our members have been shocked and saddened at the revelations being heard by the Aged Care Royal Commission. However we can’t wait for the Royal Commission to report. The crisis in Aged Care has been exacerbated by devastating funding cuts, low pay and insecure work. We need to act now to fix the Aged Care system. Our 5 point plan is about the type of aged care system we would want for ourselves, our parents, loved ones and all older Australians who have given our country so much. It’s about what we value most as Australians. It’s about respect, it’s about fairness. It’s our turn to care.”
Teresa Hetherington, home care worker from New South Wales:
“We are the ones out there every day navigating a home care system that is stretched to the limits with waitlists blown out to over 100,000 Australians. We do not receive the recognition we deserve for the care given to our most vulnerable people in their homes. It’s very hard work, the pay is so low and so many workers don’t stay in the sector. The five point plan is about the type of care that older Australians deserve and an Aged Care sector that workers can be supported in. It’s a dignified and caring way ahead for workers like me and the older Australians that we care for.”
The 5 point plan is available on the Our Turn to Care website here.