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Aged care workers are challenging Minister Richard Colbeck to take a first simple step to fix the crisis in aged care: meet with workers and listen to their solutions.

“After multiple letters to Richard Colbeck this year, aged care workers have not had the courtesy of a response,” United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said today.

“Listening to aged care workers is vital to understanding the failures in aged care Senator Colbeck is responsible for.

“Senator Colbeck has spent a lot of time ducking his responsibility for this crisis – it’s time he looked aged care workers in the eye and heard from them what’s going on.

“Aged care workers are challenging Senator Colbeck to meet as a matter of urgency to discuss their solutions.”

Ms Smith made the comments while launching the National Aged Care Staffing Master Plan covering aged care workers in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Workers are contributing to the plan to fix the broken aged care system in response to years of inaction on aged care by the Federal Government.

The continuing neglect of aged care has been once again identified in the Royal Commission’s most recent findings that Federal Government preparations for Covid-19 in aged care were insufficient and the government needed a comprehensive plan.

“The National Aged Care Staffing Master Plan is a chance for the real experts, aged care workers, to tell decision makers what quality aged care should look like,” Ms Smith said.

“The only way we can solve the crisis in aged care is by listening to the real experts, and putting workers at the heart of decisions in aged care.”

Workers’ voices from the National Aged Care Staffing Master Plan will provide the solutions in aged care that ensure better jobs and quality care for residents.

West Australian aged care worker Mel says:

“We’re always short staffed, and it has a domino effect. It’s stopping us from doing the best we can for the residents. We need safe working numbers.

“We’re in aged care day in, day out, 24/7. I don’t understand why employers and government aren’t asking us what needs to happen. They need to ask us, the aged care workers, because we are the ones with the expertise.”

South Australian aged care worker Donna says:

“People are telling me on a daily basis they’re unsupported, understaffed, and the workload is ridiculous. The problems in aged care aren’t isolated, they’re the same nation-wide. But the federal government isn’t doing anything about it. I want to say to the federal government, have any of you walked into an aged care facility and actually worked there?”

Queensland aged care worker Pauline says:

“I’ve worked in aged care for so long and I’ve seen it going backwards. It’s been the same thing from this government for years.

“They don’t understand what the problems are and they don’t ask the frontline workers. They just don’t want to know.”