Older people in the ACT will be the ultimate winners from a landmark deal that will provide higher wages, better conditions and more rewarding careers for the nation’s 350,000 aged care workers.
As part of its Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms, the Australian Government announced that up to $1.2 billion would be provided to address workforce pressures.
This funding will flow from July through a ‘Workforce Supplement’, delivering pay rises for aged care nurses, care workers and others in the aged care industry.
This is a big boost for thousands of aged care workers in our local community providing an extra 1% pay rise above minimum annual wage increases or wage rises negotiated through enterprise bargaining agreements.
This effectively means a personal care worker currently paid the award rate and who is employed by an aged care provider that meets the requirements would effectively see a pay rise of up to 18.7% over four years. Enrolled nurses would receive 25% higher pay and registered nurses 29.9% higher pay in the same situation.
We know aged care workers in our local community are is likely to almost triple over the next few decades with our ageing population reaching the age where they need support.
Most Australians who pursue a career in aged care do it for much more than the financial reward, but pay rises of that level are a big incentive to work in this growing industry and a reward for those already working in aged care.
We want the best possible aged care workforce to support our parents, grandparents and, at some point, ourselves, and this funding will help attract more good people to work in the industry.
Minister for Ageing Mark Butler said the Workforce Supplement was part of the Government’s Living Longer Living Better aged caer reforms.
“The pay rises will be paid to workers where the aged care provider they work for meets the conditions of the Workforce Compact which was developed in consultation with providers and unions. Providers will be required to pass the Supplement on as higher wages,” Mr Butler said.
“This delivers on our commitment to better pay and conditions for Australia’s aged care workers, who are the heart and soul of the aged care system,” Mr Butler said.
Ms Brodtmann and Mr Leigh said the initiative was aimed at addressing workforce pressures with the aged care workforce.
A better paid, better skilled and better trained workforce will underpin a more responsive system that provides older Australians with quality care, when and where they need it.
The key aim of the Workforce Compact will be to improve the capacity of the aged care sector to attract and retain staff through higher wages, improved career structures, enhancing training and education opportunities, improved career development and workforce planning and better work practices.
Further information on the Workforce Compact is available on www.livinglongerlivingbetter.gov.au
Details about Government programs to support the aged care workforce are at www.health.gov.au/agedcarework