Senate debates

Thursday, 4 August 2022


Aged Care

1:40 pm

Photo of Tammy TyrrellTammy Tyrrell (Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie Network) Share this | | Hansard source

This is not my first speech. The cost of everything is going up—lettuce, fuel, your mortgage repayments. It's tough out there to make ends meet. Do you know what isn't going up, though? Community care funding—at least, not by enough for organisations to survive on. Community care helps with all the things that get a little bit harder when you get older—things like mowing the lawn or fixing a fence, transport to doctors appointments and cleaning your house. It's an important service that people rely on. This year, funding is increasing by just 1.7 per cent. Community care providers have to put that towards increased wages, super contributions, insurance and loan or rent repayments, and those numbers just don't add up.

Providers don't deserve it. Their staff are the people we trust to look after our mums and dads and our grandparents, and they need our support. I know because my partner, Tim, works in the aged-care industry. I see the long hours he does. I see the times he's gone hours without a drink or potty break because he's been kitted up in PPE, the sadness when he comes home and tells me one of his patients has passed away, and the smile on his face when he tells me about their adventures—that Glynis felt well enough to dance today or Tim sang along to John's favourite song. It's a hard job, and when bigger organisations can offer way better money for easier jobs it's not hard to see how small organisations are losing staff.

NDIS funding is going up by nine per cent this year, almost four times as much as community care funding. That allows for the increase in minimum wages and superannuation. If community care is facing the same increases, then why aren't they getting the same funding? They do similar work. Community care workers deserve more funding, just like the NDIS. It's not asking for the world. It's what they need to cover the bare minimum.