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It only took five days for the Federal Government to break its promise to look after people in aged care during Covid-19, United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said today.

“Richard Colbeck has broken a promise to aged care residents and workers within a week,” Ms Smith said.

“That’s astounding neglect, even for this Government’s lack of responsibility for the crisis in aged care.”

Last Thursday the Federal Government committed to adopting all Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations about addressing Covid-19 in aged care facilities.

Yet Tuesday night’s Budget contained no allocated spending on a key Royal Commission recommendation about funding providers to ensure adequate staffing to allow more meaningful visits for residents.

“Residents are literally dying of loneliness, the Federal Government commits to help them and yet the very next week there are no specific funds set aside in the Budget to live up to the promise,” Ms Smith said.

“That’s about as heartless as it gets.

“If this is what Richard Colbeck does with the Royal Commission recommendations on Covid-19, heaven help aged care workers and the residents they care for when the Royal Commission releases its final report.”

Ms Smith called on the Federal Government to provide transparency and accountability for Budget ‘buckets’ of funding including $245 million for Covid-19 supplies, $103 million for aged care facilities’ preparedness for outbreaks and $92 million for aged care workers to be employed at a single site during outbreaks.

“Once again the Budget contains no specific funding measures allocated to day-to-day residential care staffing,” Ms Smith said.

“Our members know only too well what happens to ‘buckets’ of funding – they end up as high-end foyer art and Ferraris for the owners. Workers and residents are left to do the best they can out the back.

“For the aged care system to work, we know that funding has to be directed to the frontline workers – and that includes any funding of Covid-19 measures.

“Families around Australia have experienced the Covid-19 crisis in aged care yet this Federal Government has made no financial commitment to fix a major Covid-19 shortfall identified by the Royal Commission.”