Aged care providers can’t deny workers better wages and improved training

Thursday 18th July, 2013

Australia’s largest health union, the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), has questioned why not for profit providers continue to call for more aged care funding while actively undermining the Aged Care Workforce Compact – which will deliver $1.2 billion for better wages and improved training and educational pathways for low paid aged care workers.

The Workforce Compact has been specifically developed in close consultation with unions and aged care providers, as part of the Federal Government’s Living Longer Living Better reforms of the sector. Aged care providers which meet the conditions of the Compact can apply for the Workforce Supplement and receive increased funding to improve the wages and employment conditions of their aged care workforce.

Funding needs to be directed to under paid aged care workers and the older Australians they care for

ANF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said it was the first time in many years that Federal Government funding will be directed straight to where it’s desperately needed most - to under paid aged care workers and the vulnerable, older Australians they care for. This in turn will assist providers to attract staff and improve care for the increasing number of vulnerable older Australians.

But Ms Thomas said organisations like Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), which represents the not for profit and faith-based aged care providers, continue to oppose the new funding model.

ACSA standing in the way of funding that can be flowing to the aged care workforce

In a June newsletter to members, ACSA says “Noting that the Federal election is only ten weeks away and that a Coalition win currently appears likely, members might consider it prudent to await the election outcome before signing the supplement into any new enterprise agreement.”

“How can ACSA’s CEO John Kelly go on the Lateline program on Tuesday night and complain about the sector being ‘chronically underfunded’ when he continues to undermine new funding for aged care workforce by actively discouraging providers to sign-up for the Supplement for workers?” Ms Thomas asked.

“ACSA shouldn’t be standing in the way of $1.2 billion in funding that can be flowing to the aged care workforce for better wages, training and career pathways.

Start closing the wages gap for aged care nurses and help attract more nurses to the sector

“The Lateline report has re-emphasised the urgent need for mandated levels of staffing and education of nursing and care staff employed in nursing homes; the right mix of properly qualified staff, as well as a national system of regulation for workers.

“These reforms can now be supported by the Workforce Compact, which is why the ANF is urging provider groups like ACSA to work with the Federal Government, unions and consumer groups to start closing the wages gap for aged care nurses and provide them with a better career pathway and education opportunities and in turn help attract more nurses to the sector.”

The ANF, with over 230,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia. 

Media Contact: Richard Lenarduzzi on 0411 254 390.