The Albanese Government’s first budget has been designed to tread a fine line between not wanting to fuel inflation (tipped to peak at 7.75% in the December quarter of 2022) and keeping the election promises that got them to power in the first place.
For aged care, the budget supports previous commitments with $2.5 billion to underpin an increase in residential care staffing minutes and requirements for 24/7 nurse coverage in residential aged care.
It also provides $1.4 billion for other measures including continued funding for COVID-19, and implementation of an Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and Inspector-General of Aged Care.
Key measures that will have flow-on benefits to the aged care industry with respect to the workforce, include $531 million to progressively expand paid parental leave to 26 weeks by 2026 and increases in childcare subsidies that will be available to 96 per cent of families – a centrepiece of the budget!
In a release, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) cites the promise of the Treasurer to fund an increase in aged care workers’ wages in future Budgets.
CHA Aged Care Director Jason Kara said: “Tonight’s Budget included a recommitment of the Government to fund the future Fair Work Commission pay decision in full.”
As first reported by the Australian Financial Review – In its submission to the Fair Work Commission, Treasury estimates suggest a 25% increase in the pay for aged care workers could increase workforce numbers by 5 – 10%, – potentially adding around 36,000 workers to the sector!
A decision on the unions’ 25% wage claim is expected over the summer.