House debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2024

Questions without Notice

Aged Care

2:39 pm

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Aged Care and Sport. How is the Albanese Labor government supporting aged-care workers and making sure they can keep more of their hard-earned wages?

Photo of Anika WellsAnika Wells (Lilley, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Macnamara for his question and would like to acknowledge his advocacy for the aged-care workers in his electorate, particularly the wonderful workers we visited at Emmy Monash Aged Care in Melbourne. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was a damning report on the quality of aged care in this country and it spanned five very long volumes. For the benefit of those opposite—that dynamic cast of characters who have regaled us all in Nemesis and who, across 4.5 hours of ruminating, never once passed the subject of the aged-care crisis on their watch—I will distil that report down to just one word, and that word is 'neglect'.

The Albanese government, however, understands that the best investment we can make to lift the standard of aged care in Australia is to make an investment in aged-care workers. That's why we delivered an $11.3 billion increase to the minimum award for 250,000 aged-care workers, and that's why we've provided fee-free TAFE so people who are passionate about caring for older people can turn that passion into a career and receive a certificate III in individual support for free, saving up to $5,600. That's why we are delivering a tax cut for every single aged-care worker.

I recently went and met with residents and workers at the MiCare Avondrust Lodge in Carrum Downs, which is in the electorate of Dunkley. I went there alongside Jodie Belyea, and we spoke to an aged-care worker named Dawn. Dawn is a breast cancer survivor and has worked in aged care for seven years. Dawn loves her job because she gets to care for older people, including her mother-in-law, who lives in the home that she works at. Good on you, Dawn! But love doesn't pay Dawn's bills, and we know that aged-care workers like Dawn are facing cost-of-living pressures. That is why we are delivering a tax cut for Dawn and for every single one of her colleagues. But, while we are delivering dollars for aged-care workers, the coalition are only delivering yet more lip service.

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

A point of order on relevance. A commendably tightly drafted question was asked which allowed no territory at all for the minister to go where she is now going.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes; the Manager of Opposition Business is correct. The question was about aged-care support. The minister is entitled to compare and contrast, but she's not entitled to do an analysis of the opposition's policies. I'll give her the call and make sure she remains relevant.

Photo of Anika WellsAnika Wells (Lilley, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm talking about the support for aged-care workers. I've just talked about how we are supporting aged-care workers. I would now make the point that across the summer one of the members of the coalition toured aged-care facilities and delivered certificates to aged-care workers. I ask: did those certificates have in fine print that the coalition refused to support a pay rise for the aged-care workers receiving certificates? Did those certificates state that if the coalition was still in government some of those registered nurses would be $10,000 a year worse off than what they are now under the Albanese Labor government? Did the certificates state that the coalition would not support the tax cut for aged-care workers? Then, maybe, they crossed that out and said that actually maybe they would support tax cuts for aged-care workers, and then maybe they said, 'No, we'll go back and we won't support the tax cuts for aged-care workers— (Time expired)