The Morrison Government’s Budget measures to address the aged care crisis have been marked a hard “fail” by more than 700 aged care workers, in survey results released today.
While failings in the vaccination rollout for aged care workers have been aired this week, aged care workers have highlighted aged care failures in the Budget’s approach to issues including low pay, job security and understaffing.
In the survey workers issue a stinging rebuke to the Budget sales job, indicating a strong recognition in the workforce that $3.2 billion allocated to aged care providers will not reach older Australians or frontline workers.
In a measure of the dim views of aged care workers, the Morrison Government’s efforts to address five key issues facing workers in aged care received an average mark on each issue of no higher than 22 per cent.
The aged care workers’ rejection of the Budget follows widespread criticism of the Budget’s aged care spending measures from think tanks, community members and advocates for older Australians.*
In the United Workers Union survey aged care workers were asked to rate the Budget against five measures endorsed by thousands of aged care workers as necessary to improving care for older Australians, including whether the Budget:
- Addressed low pay and lack of recognition for workers.
- Aged care workers’ mark: 20 per cent.
- Addressed job security issues plaguing workers.
- Aged care workers’ mark: 22 per cent.
- Would ensure aged care workers were given respect in the workplace.
- Aged care workers’ mark: 21 per cent.
- Responded to workers’ demands for a care-time guarantee, addressing understaffing and giving older Australians enough care time.
- Aged care workers’ mark: 20 per cent.
- Provided the basis for a well-trained workforce with the necessary skills to do the work.
- Aged care workers’ mark: 19 per cent.
“This survey shows the Morrison Government has completely failed to convince aged care workers that the supposed record funding levels in aged care will make a meaningful difference to older Australians,” United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said today. “Aged care workers know when they are being played, and this survey shows they think the Budget is a sales job, not a reform package.
“Aged care workers know billions of dollars of funding is going to providers, that funding is not tied to care outcomes and there is not one dollar in the funding for higher wages for aged care workers.”
Aged care worker Jen says:
“The budget did nothing for us. The budget did nothing to show that we’re going to be valued as workers. And of course that’s going to affect the quality of care we give our residents. We need it fixed.”
Aged care worker Jude says:
“Giving the providers $3.2 billion to do with what they want – that’s never coming to us. This is not what we wanted.”
Survey respondent #620
“It really saddens me to think the government has offered all this money and it’s going to all the wrong places.”
Survey respondent #568
“The government, general population and providers have no idea about what care staff go through every day or just don’t care … no wonder aged care workers are leaving in droves and can’t get new recruits.”
Survey respondent #567
“Aged care and aged care workers are not regarded as valued human beings. This is the industry that needs attention as the residents paid their dues to build this country through sacrifices. They are the legends and their carers are doing the same sacrifices to work under appalling conditions – lack of staff continuity, short working hours, overloaded work and (too much) documentation.”
About the survey:
Aged care workers were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 the Federal Government’s Budget response across five questions. The results were then calculated as an average percentage:
- What rating out of ten do you give the Morrison government’s Budget in ensuring aged care workers are given respect in the workplace?
- What rating out of ten do you give the Morrison government’s response to workers’ demands for a care time guarantee?
- What rating out of ten do you give the Morrison government in addressing the need for one job for quality care?
- What rating out of ten do you give the Morrison government in responding to the low pay and lack of recognition faced by aged care workers?
- What rating out of ten do you give the Morrison government for providing for a well-trained workforce with the skills they need to do their work?
A total of 725 aged care workers – 681 in residential care and 44 in home care – responded to the survey between May 12 and May 28.
Responses to the Federal Budget have been negative among think tanks and aged care advocates.
The Centre for Future Work found the Budget spending of $17.7 billion “represents just one-third of what is reasonably required to fully implement the Royal Commission recommendations”.
Dr Sarah Russell from Aged Care Reform Now stated: “So why did the #Budget2021 give residential providers extra billions (of) taxpayers money without tying it to direct care?”