House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Private Members' Business

Aged Care

11:39 am

Photo of Dan RepacholiDan Repacholi (Hunter, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Older Australians helped to make this country the great place that it is today. They worked hard their whole lives setting up for the future that we all enjoy. But as they age they become more reliant on others to give them support and the care that they need. For helping to create this nation, they deserve quality support now that they have reached the point in their life where they need it more than ever.

Ageing is something that most of us will experience; it is a part of life. As we age, many go into aged care, but sadly we have heard some horror stories about what has been going on in some of our aged-care systems. This is not good enough. Those in aged care deserve dignity, and we are a government committed to restoring dignity to our aged-care residents. We are starting to do this by delivering on our commitment to put nurses back into nursing homes, with 24 hours a day, seven days a week nursing care. It's hard to believe that our country got into a position where those in nursing homes did not always have nurses available to them.

When somebody moves out of their home and into aged care, it is one of the biggest moves that they have ever made in their life. It is a difficult time for many. The reason that someone makes the decision to go into a nursing home is that the care they need isn't always available to them. But what is the point if the nurses who can provide this specialised care aren't always there for them? Nursing homes need nurses available 24 hours a day, every day of the week, and that is what we are delivering.

When an Australian moves into an aged-care facility, it should be a place that is safe, and it should be a place where they can get the highest-quality care. Not only do residents deserve to have this; their families and loved ones deserve peace of mind knowing that the facility is the safest and best possible place for their loved ones because of the high-quality care that is there for them. We are delivering this support for older Australians who live in aged-care homes. We are making sure that their place of residence is safe. We are making sure that the care available to them is to the highest standard in the world.

Those who work in the aged-care sector work hard. Their job is tough. I have no doubt that at times it can be very draining, but they do a great job. During the pandemic, they were on the front line looking out for the most vulnerable in our community, and it's because of them that many older Australians in aged care avoided the worst of the pandemic. They deserve our thanks, but, to put it bluntly, those in this sector were getting ripped off. For the work they did and the toll this can take, their pay was nowhere near what they deserved. That is why this government fought so hard to deliver a record 15 per cent pay increase for aged-care workers across Australia. This is the largest ever pay rise in the history of the aged-care sector. It is a pay rise that these workers really did deserve, a pay rise that was long overdue.

By now, you all know in this place that I love tasty, nutritious food. I believe that as an Australian you should have the right to enjoy food that is tasty and nutritious. But the reality is that some in aged-care facilities didn't always have access to food which was both great and enjoyable for them. We are putting a stop to this by working to ensure older Australians have tasty, nutritious food in aged care, as they should have. It is also important to note that this is just one part of what the government is doing to rebuild universal health care in Australia.

All Australians deserve care that is affordable and that is the best you can find anywhere in the world. People in aged care are human. They are members of our community. They are our grandparents. They are our parents. They deserve the same dignity as any other person in our society, and nothing less. This is what our Labor government is providing.


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