THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING
MEMBER FOR BLAIR
SENATOR HELEN POLLEY
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR AGED CARE
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
Federal Labor today moved to secure better pay and conditions for Australia’s aged care workers, blocking the Abbott Government’s attempts to repeal the Aged Care Workforce Supplement.
Shadow Minister for Ageing Shayne Neumann criticised the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews for trying to stop workers getting the supplement, just months after it first began.
“One of this Government’s first acts was to try and stop any more applications for this payment, which delivers better pay and conditions for some of the nation’s lowest paid workers,” Mr Neumann said.
“The Minister was more than happy to be the Christmas Grinch for Australia’s aged care workers and make sure they didn’t get a much-deserved pay rise.
“Today in the Senate, Labor moved to lift the Minister’s prohibitions and clear the way for more aged care providers to negotiate better outcomes with their staff.
“This is the Christmas gift aged care workers really want, and Labor is making sure they get it.”
The previous Labor Government provided $1.2 billion over four years for the Supplement, which began on July 1, 2013. So far, 18 aged care providers have successfully applied for the Supplement, with $1.1 billion still available for distribution.
The Supplement was introduced as part of the previous Labor Government’s Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package to address staff shortages and the career development of workers.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care Senator Helen Polley lodged the motions to disallow the determinations in the Senate today.
“The Government needs to realise there are serious pressures on the aged care system as more of us live longer,” Senator Polley said.
“For the first time in the nation’s history, there are more people turning pension age each year than there are turning working age. Although the sector is growing, it is experiencing a high turnover of staff.
“We recognise that many of these workers are motivated by compassion, but they deserve to be given better pay and fairer conditions. As the demands of the population are growing, our workforce needs assistance to help it cope.”
Senator Polley’s motions to disallow the Minister’s Determinations will ensure that aged care providers may apply for the supplement, following the negotiation of suitable enterprise agreements with their staff.
“Federal Labor will always fight for workers. We will continue to fight for the Aged Care Workforce Supplement and improve the lives of those who work so hard for others,” Mr Neumann said.
TUESDAY 10 DECEMBER 2013
MEDIA CONTACTS: Madonna Oliver (Mr Neumann) 0416 199 808
John Ronan (Senator Polley) 0408 542 547
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