ANMF calls for aged care workers’ wages to be protected

18 August 2020

ANMF (SA Branch) officers have met with representatives of the Department for Health and Wellbeing to discuss our concerns regarding the restrictions placed on Personal Care Workers being employed in more than one facility from August 27.

It is clear that this restriction will be implemented in response to heightened risk in SA following the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Victoria and the devastating impact that it has had in aged care settings.

If anything, it is likely that other staff groups could see similar restrictions imposed unless the risk of community transmission is alleviated in SA.

The ANMF (SA Branch) has strongly advocated for the wages of aged care staff affected by these decisions to be protected by subsidies as has been approved in Victoria.

We are advised that the Federal Government is refusing to fund the scheme in SA due to the absence of any actual outbreak of COVID-19 in the state (after which, of course, the impact is increasingly difficult to control and the human costs are extreme).

The ANMF is seeking reconsideration of this position through lobbying the Federal Aged Care Minister Senator Richard Colbeck.

The South Australian Government too is refusing to provide any subsidies even though it made the decision to introduce the restrictions.

This refusal extends even to providing guarantees to its own state-run aged care facilities, particularly in rural and remote locations, which is difficult to understand.

Surely if the State Government is asking aged care providers to step up and implement the measures then it should be prepared to look after its own employees in the first instance.

On a brighter note SA Health has confirmed that it will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to aged care facilities in need. This should alleviate members' concerns regarding the availability and quality of PPE in some facilities. Please contact our duty officer on 08 8334 1945 if you have concerns about PPE in your aged care service.

Further information about the use of PPE and member advice and education can be found here.

Further information will be provided as it comes to hand.