Parliament delivers aged care compact

The Federal Government’s $3.7 billion Living Longer, Living Better aged care reform package passed through both houses of Parliament on June 26 and the $1.2 billion in pay rises began to flow through to aged care nurses and care workers on July 1.

Pay rises of about $46 a week or $2390 a year for registered nurses, $35 a week or $1820 a year for enrolled nurses and $29 a week or $1510 a year for assistants in nursing (AINs) will be delivered by 2016 under the reforms.

For the wage increases to flow through to the pockets of Australia’s 350,000 aged care nurses and care workers, aged care employers must vary the current enterprise agreement or negotiate a new agreement through the Workforce Compact.

ANF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the legislation was a “once in a generation” reform of the aged care sector.

“Currently, 20,000 nurses are urgently required to work in aged care to meet the challenges of Australia’s ageing population, which is of great concern to the ANF,” she said.

“That’s why we welcome this reform of the sector which will provide improved wages for nurses and care staff and deliver quality care to the most vulnerable people in our society – Australia’s elderly.”

The reforms also deliver consumer directed care packages, which will be rolled out nationwide to provide people with more control of their care, almost $1 billion in new funding for home care, which will almost double the number of home support packages from 60,000 to 100,000 over five years, tailored care packages for people with dementia and increased funding to residential aged care, with 30,000 new places over the next five years.

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