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The Federal Government has belatedly recognised the importance of an overworked and understaffed workforce in dedicating funding directly to aged carers, the United Workers Union said today.

“The challenge for the Federal Government is to make sure the workers who will be running aged care in this time of crisis get the money they have been promised,” Carolyn Smith, the National Aged Care Director of United Workers Union said.

“We need a fair, transparent and equitable system to deliver the funding as quickly as possible to aged carers – they need this to go straight into their pockets.

“Aged carers will be on the front line of this crisis, and they need all the support they can get.

“The $235 million for retention bonuses is welcome recognition of the importance of aged carers.

“It must not be soaked up by the top layer or go missing in red tape.”

Ms Smith said funding dedicated to aged care facilities was also welcome, given almost half the aged care homes in Australia were already unprofitable.

However she highlighted the $78.3 million allocated to staff continuity and supply as indicative of the Morrison government’s continuing failure to understand the crisis facing aged care.

“Scott Morrison doesn’t ‘get’ aged care – the funding is inadequate because it misunderstands the extent of issues the sector is already facing,” Ms Smith said.

“Overwork, understaffing and the inability to find appropriate time to care for the elderly in their care are the big issues for aged care workers.

“Given the size of the existing problem demonstrated by the Royal Commission, this funding doesn’t even get us back to square one, let alone dealing with the mammoth challenges that are going to be facing aged care during the coronavirus crisis.

“If this coronavirus continues on its current trajectory, Scott Morrison needs to rethink this funding for extra staff, and substantially increase it.

“Examples from Italy during this crisis show aged care is too important to be given the ‘once over lightly’ treatment yet again.”