The Federal Government’s cash splash on one-off payments and tax offsets does little for young families desperately seeking early childhood care or the elderly trapped in the aged care crisis, United Workers Union said today.
“This Budget shows Scott Morrison’s complete lack of compassion for working Australians at the beginning and end of their life, leaving young families and the elderly to fend for themselves in their times of greatest need,” Jo Schofield, National President of United Workers Union, said today.
“The Budget is big on one-off quick fixes, but completely lacking in long-term structural reform.
“The Budget also shows Scott Morrison once again failing women.
“Why is it so hard to recognise investments in secure, well-paid jobs in areas including aged care, early childhood education and care and disability services, where women dominate employment stats, provide social and economic benefits far outstripping big-dollar ‘hard-hat’ infrastructure projects?
“In this Budget Scott Morrison has failed to make real change in early childhood education and care and aged care, alongside his government’s consistent failure to make any meaningful improvements in those areas.”
- Budget fails to address aged care crisis
- Budget leaves children being fed on 65 cents a day
- Budget fails to address aged care crisis
More than 900 deaths due to Covid this year exposed the Federal Government’s litany of failures in aged care, and tonight’s Budget does nothing to address those failings, United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said today.
Ms Smith said the announced $49.5 million aged care training fund over two years wouldn’t even paper over the cracks in a sector where 75 per cent of aged care workers say they want to leave the sector within five years.
“Tonight’s Budget fiddles around the edges of the aged care crisis and the full-blown workforce crisis,” Ms Smith said.
“In home care and residential aged care, the Budget has no announcements that address low pay rates that leave workers with barely enough to live on, working multiple jobs to feed themselves and their families.
“In residential aged care the Budget fails to address the widespread understaffing that leaves aged care workers rushing to provide even the most basic levels of care to older Australians who deserve much better.”
Ms Smith said aged care workers had been forced to take the case for change in aged care into their own hands after the failures at employer and Federal Government level.
Last week aged care workers applied for Protected Action Ballots covering major aged care providers in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia that employ 13,000 aged care workers.
“After big promises in last year’s Budget aged care workers did not see increased funding going toward care, spending to improve aged care food failed, and steps to improve care time have been pushed out.
“On top of that, aged care workers working double and triple shifts kept the whole aged care system from collapse as Omicron raced through residential aged care causing death and chaos.”
“In home care, where there has hardly been a dent in the home care waitlist, elderly people continue to die waiting for care, and skilled home care workers continue to leave the sector.”
“Aged care workers are taking action – including possible strike action – because they know their employers and the Federal Government have failed them at every turn,” Ms Smith said.
Budget leaves children being fed on 65 cents a day
The Budget papers show new spending in early childhood education and care of just $19.5 million spread across five years for the Community Child Care Fund.
Quotes attributable to Helen Gibbons, Early Childhood Education and Care director, United Workers Union
“The government’s free market approach to early childhood education has failed.
“In just the past week it’s been revealed that there is huge inequality of access to early education depending on where you live, as private providers over-saturate lucrative metropolitan areas and abandon regional families. We’ve seen children are going hungry because of cost-cutting to their food budgets, while private for-profit providers pocket millions in parents’ fees and federal funding.
“An early education system driven by profit will never deliver the quality that children and parents deserve.
“Children cannot be fed for $0.65 a day.
“Families cannot afford ever-rising fees in addition to rising costs of living.
“Taxpayers should not have to fund the lavish lifestyles of profiteering private centre owners.
“Early childhood educators cannot keep propping up a broken system through low wages and often, the purchase of basic supplies out of their own paycheck.
“This cannot go on.
“The early education sector needs a complete overhaul.
“Instead of taking any steps to improve it, once again Scott Morrison has chosen to do nothing.
“United Workers Union calls on the Federal Government to commit to structural reform in the early learning sector. In order to deliver quality early education for children and families, the Government must act now.
“By leaving early education and care to be determined by the free market, Scott Morrison is abandoning children, families and educators.”
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