This Federal Budget has fallen woefully short of providing the desperately needed funding to health, aged care and disability sectors.
“Again, the Liberal Government has chosen to neglect care workers in this Budget,” HSU National Secretary, Lloyd Williams said.
“They have shown yet again that they are not serious about supporting the workforces that care for our most vulnerable.”
“This Budget was an opportunity to show real recognition and appreciation to the health, aged care and disability workers who got us through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These sectors needed adequate funding, transparent funding and sustainable funding, and they have failed to deliver this.
“The Morrison Government continues to care only about propping up the top end of town.”
“Aged care has been in chronic crisis for years and this funding package won’t change that,” HSU National President, Gerard Hayes said.
“For carers, therapists and support workers there is no commitment to permanent, better paid jobs. Clearly, the Government’s plan is to continue exploiting the goodwill of an insecure, underpaid workforce of women.
“To properly attract and retain a dedicated workforce, the Government must commit to paying aged care workers more than $21 an hour. It had a chance to do that tonight and it failed.
“Committing to increased care minutes is entirely hollow unless you have a plan to attract and retain the workforce needed to provide that care.
“Modelling commissioned by our union found the need in residential aged care alone amounts to $20.4 billion over four years. This would create 59,000 skilled aged care jobs, provide a $5 dollar per hour pay rise and provide residents an extra 89 care minutes per day.
“The Grattan Institute puts the total four year need at $28 billion, when the cost of home care is added. Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have delivered a fraction of what’s needed.
“Aged care workers and residents had high expectations after years of banging the drum, giving evidence to the Royal Commission and pleading for change. Tonight, they are disappointed, but their will is not broken. We will continue fighting for a properly resourced aged care system.
“It is positive that the Government have started to show greater recognition of the importance of mental health and wellbeing through its funding,” HSU National Secretary, Lloyd Williams said.
“But like many of the Government’s Budget announcements, it doesn’t go far enough.”
“The mental health workforce is severely under resourced, particularly in rural and regional areas, and only $202 million of the $2.3 billion has been allocated to ‘mental health workforce and governance measures’.”
“The bulk of the new money they’ve announced is for counselling services, rather than for acute clinical or psychiatric services that the most vulnerable Australians depend on.”
“This Budget will do little to bring about structural workforce reforms to attract, train and retain staff to deliver the core functions of services across mental health and wellbeing services.”
“And it will do little to alleviate the pressure that the mental health workforce is under across the country.”
“The scrapping of the $450 a month threshold to pay compulsory super is good news for care workers,” HSU National Secretary, Lloyd Williams said.
“HSU members in health, aged care and disability work have been campaigning for the removal of this for years and it should’ve been lifted a long time ago.
“The threshold disproportionately affects women, who are often employed on low hour part time contracts.
“This is a small step towards closing the super pay gap, but there is much more work to be done.”
The decision to stop the payments will hurt essential and low paid health, aged care and disability workers.