Wednesday, 12 May 2021
Scott Morrison's budget speaks for itself. It says clearly that Scott Morrison has not listened to the experts in aged care, the dedicated and hardworking aged-care workers. Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg boasted that this was the budget for aged care. Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg boasted that this was the budget for women, but they failed to deliver. If they really wanted to deliver on aged care, they should have put good, secure jobs for the workers at the heart of their budget. If they wanted to show women they care, they should have put forward good, secure jobs for this care workforce.
Certainly. If they wanted to show women they care, they should have put forward good, secure jobs for this care workforce at the heart of their budget. Instead, this government decided to try to take advantage of the goodwill of the Australian women who work so hard in our aged-care sector. This critical, essential sector needs a pay rise.
I met with amazing aged-care workers today and I want to share their stories. Aged-care worker Donna said today: 'At the end of the day, I don't clock off and say "I am finished, that's it." I get attached to these people. My heart aches when I see these people deteriorating.' Donna works full-time hours in her aged-care job, and that is not enough. She had to pick up two extra jobs to make ends meet. How is that fair? Full-time hours should be enough. Does the government see these care roles and think that the reward of caring for another human being is enough for women, that they don't need to be paid a decent living wage because they're helping people? Is this government that out of touch? That is exactly what it looks like.
Then there's aged-care worker Jude. She has been working in aged care for 48 years. Just over $20 an hour is not enough to reward that level of dedication and that level of experience. What does this government have to say to Jude? Does she not deserve a decent living wage? The government have missed the opportunity with this budget to tell these workers they've listened, that these workers are actually worth more.
The government has missed the opportunity to ensure transparency and accountability for where the funding is actually going and the government has missed this opportunity to really reform the aged-care sector for the better, to ensure that the dedicated aged-care workers have good, secure jobs so that they can go to work and give the high level of care to their residents that they would like and that the residents deserve. But the Prime Minister missed that opportunity. He missed it completely. Aged-care workers have to go back to their facilities, having visited us here in Canberra, knowing this government has completely failed them. If this government really cared about aged care, if they really cared about aged-care workers, they would have done something for them over the last eight years. They wouldn't have sat on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report for more than a year and a half, they wouldn't have waited until the budget to respond to the royal commission final report and they wouldn't have skirted their responsibility for the aged-care sector during the COVID pandemic last year.
The government don't care. They don't care about Australia's aged-care sector and they don't care about doing what is needed to get wages moving. If the government want to show Australians that they are serious about a national pay rise, they could have and should have started with this essential sector. Labor knows that the love and dedication of these aged-care workers to their residents does not pay the bills. Labor will put good, secure jobs for aged-care workers at the heart of our response to the aged-care crisis, because there is no solution to the aged-care crisis without good, secure jobs for the workforce. We know that Australians have gone far too long without a pay rise under this Liberal government.