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Federal election: putting nurses back into nursing homes

Federal election: putting nurses back into nursing homes

On a mission to fix private aged care: Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler, Aged Care Minister Anika Wells and Health and Aged Care Assistant Minister Ged Kearney. AAP images by Lukas Coch, Jason O’Brien and Ellen Smith .

The election of the Albanese Government means the most significant reforms of private aged care in 25 years.

The new Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, was sworn in on 1 June 2022 with her colleagues Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler and Health and Aged Care Assistant Minister Ged Kearney who is a former ANMF (Vic Branch) president and a former ANMF federal secretary.

Nationally, ANMF will be seeking an urgent meeting with the new ministers to discuss the implementation of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s aged care election commitments including the next steps and what can be done urgently to stop employers cutting nurses’ and personal care workers’ hours and shifts.

ANMF Acting Federal Secretary Lori-Anne Sharp said ‘We are excited to be working with Ministers Butler and Wells in the critical portfolios of health and aged care and in particular, our former colleague Ged Kearney, who clearly understands the challenges we’re facing and has supported the ANMF over the past decade as we’ve campaigned tirelessly to ensure fair and equitable health outcomes for all Australians.’

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s election commitments aligned with the national ANMF’s four key ‘it’s not too much’ campaign asks and will put nurses back into nursing homes by:

  1. Funding and legislating 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.
  2. Funding and legislating 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.
  3. Increasing 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
  4. Legislating clear transparency measures that tie funding to care.

The new government has also pledged to implement mandatory nutrition standards for residents with $5 million promised for the Maggie Beer Foundation.