The Australian Greens on Tuesday unveiled a comprehensive suite of policies that will support older Australians to access high quality aged care and better pay and conditions for aged care workers.
"It's been clear for years now that there are significant issues within the aged care sector and for too long aged care has been put in the too hard basket”, Senator Siewert said.
“We can’t keep tinkering around the edges. The Greens understand we need change and a comprehensive plan of how we are going to care for older Australians.
“The Greens will provide funding for an additional 50,000 Level 3 and 4 Home Care Packages over three years to address the huge waiting list for home care packages.
“In residential care we will ensure that residents can access quality care by injecting an initial $3 billion into increasing the hours of care a resident receives and supporting more staff with better pay.
“Nurses and aged care workers do some of the most important work in our community, ensuring our mothers, fathers, grandparents and loved ones are nurtured and cared for.
“Many are overworked and underpaid and we need to value the work that they do. Our plan includes a 15% pay increase and staff to patient ratios.
“We have known about issues such as abuse and neglect, the impact of the cuts to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and staff shortages for a very long time and recommendations provided to the Government have been ignored or only partly implemented.
“I remain concerned that the Royal Commission may further delay urgent reforms to the sector that we have known about for years now.
“We need urgent reform on the use of chemical restraints including mandatory reporting and ending the use of restraints.
“It is time that we ensured that our approach to aged care is based on the human rights of older Australians.
“To define older Australians who enter aged care or receive services as clients or consumers is wholly inadequate as a protective rights framework, older Australians are people before they are clients or consumers. We support a single Charter of Rights in Aged Care.
“It is widely acknowledged that the ACFI no longer reflects the true cost of aged care, especially following the Coalition’s cuts and freezes to indexation. This is having an impact on the financial viability of aged care providers and their ability to increase staffing levels. We must have a full and independent review of the ACFI, alongside a true cost of care study.
“There is urgent need for a comprehensive approach to aged care reform to ensure that older Australians have top quality choice and control in their lives and are confident they can access the care they need. I for one am pretty tired of seeing piecemeal approaches."
The Greens will
1. Guarantee a human rights based approach to aged care
2. Provide funding for an additional 50,000 Level 3 and 4 Home Care Packages over three years at a cost of $5.491billion
3. Commit $3 billion to:
- Increase hours of care provided to each resident in residential aged care to four hours and eighteen minutes per day
- Require staff to resident ratios that ensure an adequate level of care including a minimum of one registered nurse rostered 24/7
- Increase pay for aged care workers by 15%
4. End the use of chemical and physical restraints in aged care facilities
5. Review the Aged Care Funding Instrument
The full policy can be found here.
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180