Aged Care Minister Anika Wells has defended the delay in increasing aged care workers’ pay, saying the Government has to ensure it is being fiscally “responsible” before spending billions of dollars on wage rises. Source: The Australian.
Ms Wells’s comments follow a severe backlash against the Albanese Government from unions after its submission to the Fair Work Commission proposing the 15 per cent pay rise for aged care workers be funded in two stages over 18 months. The first stage would fund a 10 per cent increase starting in July next year, with a further 5 per cent increase funded from mid-2024.
In a statement on Monday, Catholic Health Australia said the Government’s decision to postpone the wage increases was “a bitter pill” for aged care workers to swallow. CHA said it was critical that aged care workers receive a wage boost as soon as possible to ensure a stable and skilled workforce that delivers high-quality care to older Australians.
Health Services Union national secretary Lloyd Williams told The Australian on Monday the decision was “extremely disappointing” for the sector, which could now not expect to “stem the tide” of people leaving the industry.
Ms Wells said while she understood frustrations, the government was facing “challenging” fiscal circumstances.
She said the government was moving as quickly as practicable, and the 10 per cent rise on July 1 was still expected to have a significant impact on workforce pressures.
Labor made “fixing aged care” a key part of its election campaign, advocating for a dramatic rise in pay to retain workers leaving the sector in droves.
Opposition aged care spokeswoman Anne Ruston said the delay in the pay rise was a “broken promise” that prioritised “the budget bottom line”.
Minister Anika Wells defends delay to aged care pay rises (By Sarah Ison, The Australian)
Catholic Health Australia supports fair pay for aged care workers now (CHA)