Aged care reform gaining political momentum

27 August 2021

The political will to fix our broken aged care system is gaining momentum with more and more MPs taking to the floor of Federal Parliament, urging the Morrison Government to give aged care workers and residents “a fair go”.

Victorian Independent MP Dr Helen Haines on Monday called on the Government to commit to registered nurses being on site at nursing homes 24/7, a motioned back by fellow former registered nurse, Victorian MP Ged Kearney, who is also a former ANMF Federal Secretary.

Now two politicians from NSW have added their weight, with Zali Steggal saying it was “mindboggling there is no minimum staffing requirement or skills mix in legislation”.

“While we do it for so many other industries it is really astounding that we are not doing it for our most vulnerable and elderly,’’ she said.

Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain, whose mother worked in aged care, took to the floor to stress the fact that aged workers were some of the worst paid people in the country, “exhausted and overworked’’.

“Care work is hard work, it is physical work, it is emotional work, and it’s because of this work that our older loved ones can live the life they deserve,’’ she said.

“This work is still undervalued by this Government. Surely, it’s time for this Government to give them a fair go.

These workers are doing their very best in a system that is broken.

“We need more of them. We need to be encouraging more people to take up careers in aged care, it’s an industry that’s growing every year due to our ageing population … but how can you encourage someone to enter a career where they will likely be overworked and undervalued,’’ Ms McBain said.

“This country deserves a better aged care system, a system where services can employ more better paid and trained staff so that the overall standard of care increases.

“I strongly believe we need staff to patient ratios. It baffles me that we can regulate ratios for childcare centres but this Government seems unable to or unwilling to consider ratios for our other most vulnerable cohort.

“I worry the lessons that have come out of the Aged Care Royal Commission are falling on deaf ears.’’

View the MPs’ call for urgent action below.

Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines

Member for Eden,-Monaro Kristy McBain

Member for Warringah, New South Wales Zali Steggal