The Health Services Union is calling for more aged care funding and better wages for workers in the sector.
The Health Services Union is calling for more aged care funding and better wages for workers in the sector.

O’Dowd and PM targeted in union aged care funding campaign

The Health Services Union has targeted Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd and Prime Minister Scott Morrison is an advertising campaign calling for aged care funding.

The campaign was launched on Friday urging Mr O'Dowd and Mr Morrison to address Australia's aged care crisis in the upcoming budget.

The pre-budget blitz will see radio ads calling on Mr O'Dowd and the Prime Minister to consider spending a night in an aged care facility, where one aged carer looks after 60 residents, and residents face long waits for their basic needs to be met.

 

Health Services Union president Gerard Hayes speaks to the media during a press conference.
Health Services Union president Gerard Hayes speaks to the media during a press conference.

"The Federal Government must finally address the damning Aged Care Royal Commission in its budget next week with a drastic increase in funding," said Gerard Hayes, HSU president.

"Aged care residents and hardworking staff have spent far too long waiting for this government to act."

Part of the campaign targets increased wages for aged care staff.

"Four in ten aged care workers intend to leave the sector within the next five years, because they are at breaking point," said Mr Hayes.

"A workforce crisis is coming unless we see conditions significantly improved.

"We are already fighting at the Fair Work Commission to raise the rate of pay of more than 200,000 personal carers, activities officers, catering, cleaning, and administration workers by at least five dollars an hour."

Mr Hayes said the Federal Government could raise the Medicare levy to pay for aged care worker pay rises.

 

Aged Care clients Marion Powell, Elaine Hunter and Joyce Fowler. Picture: Erica Murree
Aged Care clients Marion Powell, Elaine Hunter and Joyce Fowler. Picture: Erica Murree

"The Federal Government has the opportunity to raise the Medicare levy by just 0.65 per cent," he said.

"This would raise $20.4 billion over four years, funding a pay rise, an additional 59,000 aged care jobs and close to 90 minutes of additional resident care per day.

"This advertising campaign is just a preview of what is to come if the standard of aged care across Australia is not improved.

"We won't stop until we get the result our members deserve and the Federal Government can expect this campaign to continue up until the next election."

A spokeswoman for Mr O'Dowd said the Health Services Union campaign had been referred to federal Aged Care and Health Minister Greg Hunt's office.

 

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