Political Leaders Must Put Health and Aged Care First

Tuesday 30th August, 2016

The country’s biggest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has welcomed new Ministers, MPs and Senators to Australia’s 45th Parliament today and called on them to put health and aged care at the top of their policy agenda.

ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the voter backlash against the Turnbull Government at the July 2 election demonstrated that Australians regard their health as their number one priority, with Medicare the key ingredient to protecting their own health and the health of their families.

“The people of Australia sent a strong message to the Government at the polling booths about the importance of healthcare and just how much Medicare matters to them,” Ms Thomas said today.

“And polling done in preparation for the new Parliament shows that Australians’ concern for health continues, with more than 60% saying that healthcare must be the number one focus for the new Government.”

With that understanding, Ms Thomas said the ANMF and its members will continue to campaign hard on:

  • Restoring billions axed from national health and aged care funding;
  • Protecting, maintaining and improving Medicare;
  • Ensuring safe staffing ratios (including 24/7 nurses) in aged care facilities;
  • Protecting the penalty rates of nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing (AIN).

 “With the new Parliament sitting for the first time, the ANMF looks forward to working constructively with all MPs and Senators to ensure our health system remains one of the best in the world. We need to ensure the system is adequately funded, that Medicare is universally maintained to guarantee every Australian’s access to quality care when they need it, and to work on developing sustainable solutions to Australia’s growing health needs,” Ms Thomas explained. 

“And critically, we need politicians to also address the ANMF’s concerns regarding aged care. The new Parliament must ensure that our elderly citizens receive the care they deserve by funding the system properly with mechanisms that ensure funding is directed to care for elderly residents and safe staffing levels in nursing homes.     

“The election certainly proved that Australians have put the Government on notice – that’s why it should heed this call and work with the ANMF and our other key stakeholders to address growing inequality in Australia and find achievable solutions to increasing inequities in health and aged care.”

The ANMF, with 250,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.