Hidden in yesterday’s MYEFO were over half a billion dollars’ worth of cuts to health and aged care workforce development programs. In total, $595.1 million has been ripped out of programs that were addressing the looming workforce crisis facing the sector.
These cuts have been made despite the Government’s own forecasts revealing that the aged care workforce needs to triple to almost a million workers by 2050.
HSU National Secretary, Chris Brown, said “yesterday’s decision continues a tradition established by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey to actively work against building a quality aged care workforce for older Australians.”
“When he was Prime Minister, Tony Abbott abolished Health Workforce Australia—the lead agency responsible for coordinating workforce planning—and in this year’s May Budget Joe Hockey ripped over $40 million out of the Aged Care Workforce Development Fund. After yesterday’s announcement, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have shown they are no different to their failed predecessors.”
Mr Brown also noted that these cuts come mere days after the long-awaited release of the Government’s stocktake of aged care workforce programs. “The Government said that this stocktake was meant to help inform the development of an aged care workforce strategy, but yesterday’s MEYFO shows that it was simply an elaborate exercise to find out how much they could cut.”
“This Government needs to realize that it cannot keep raiding the health and aged care budgets to cover up its failure to deal with collapsing revenues and a tax-system being gamed by multinationals.”
Aged care workers and older Australians deserve better than this.