Despite the bracing weather, nurses, midwives, carers and the community gathered in Geelong on 6 May to highlight the Morrison Government’s aged care failures and urge voters to end twenty-five years of campaigning by voting them out.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler, Geelong Trades Hall Vice President and registered nurse Zeta Henderson and member for Corangamite Libby Coker, joined ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick to call out the Morrison Government’s continual failures and highlight the ability for the community to fix this at the ballot box.
Federal Labor has promised it will:
- Fund and legislate mandated minimum 215 daily care minutes per day – this will include 44 minutes with a registered nurse and will include enrolled nurses and personal care workers. Based on the number of residents, this will be the mechanism to calculate the ratio.
- Fund and legislate 24/7 registered nurse on site – ANMF members have negotiated this provision in their enterprise agreements across 85 per cent of Victoria’s private and not-for-profit residential aged care facilities. However, this is not the case in other states such as NSW and QLD.
- Increase wages that value aged care staff – by funding the outcome of the ANMF’s and other unions work value case in the Fair Work Commission
- Legislate clear transparency measures that tie funding to care
Lisa Fitzpatrick provided a history lesson on ANMF’s long-running aged care campaign which began in 1997 when the Howard Government introduced a new Aged Care Act. The intent, she said was ‘to take the nurses out of nursing homes’.
She said residents needed the community to return their dignity by voting for a government committed to fixing the crisis.
‘We actually have a clear election outcome to fight for.’
She said that 85 per cent of private nursing homes in Victoria meet the 24/7 registered nurse standard thanks to EBA bargaining by members, but only one meets the minimum standards of 215 minutes per day.
‘Every nursing home has to lift its game, if one can do it, all can do it.’
Annie Butler said the solutions to fixing the aged care crisis have always been there but until now there has never been the commitment.
‘Finally we have the opportunity to fix aged care.’
Zeta Henderson spoke on the noticeable differences between the public and private aged care sectors. In the public system the nurse to resident ratios made a huge difference to being able to provide care she said.
Corangamite Labor MP Libby Coker reiterated Labor’s commitment to fixing aged care. She said she’s spoken to many aged care nurses and carers.
‘I’ve been in tears with them because the stories have been horrific.’
Retired nurse Anne, who was an ANMF Job Rep in the 1980s, came to the rally because she is worried about the staff in aged care.
ED nurse Chris travelled from Frankston bringing her own campaign placard, while theatre nurse Tamara brought her teenage daughter Natalie. Natalie is no stranger to ANMF action, having baked cupcakes for Northern members during the 2011-2012 EBA campaign to stop the Baillieu Coalition government replacing nurses with health assistants.