Delivering improvements to aged care
When we were elected to government, aged care was suffering under a decade of missed opportunities to fix shocking levels of substandard care of malnutrition and of understaffing.
Over the last year, we have been fiercely committed to our mission of cleaning up the mess left by those opposite. 24/7 nurses and care minute targets legislated. New reporting on how providers spend public funds. A dedicated hotline for food complaints, free training for cooks through the Maggie Beer Foundation, and expanded PALM scheme pilot and industry labour agreements. $11.3 billion to lift the wages of aged care workers. And over 100 aged care reform projects in total.
This is a government that is working for older people, and this work is having a real impact right now. It's delivering better care for older Australians right now. In the past year, Mr Speaker, there has been a reduction in the number of pressure injuries, in the number of falls, in the number of unplanned weight losses, in the reduce of physical constraints, and we've seen fewer 1- and 2-star ratings and more 4- and 5-star ratings just since December since we brought it in.
This work is also helping build our aged care workforce. Yesterday, the Minister for Immigration and I met the amazing staff at UnitingCare. Among the workers was Lorraini, who completed her Cert III at home in Suva, Fiji, before coming to Australia as part of our PALM pilot scheme. Lorraini cares for people living with dementia, and tears filled her eyes as she described to us what an honour it is to be able look to after a person as they age. And she is among 250,000 aged care workers that received a pay rise because of the discussion of Fair Work and the funding provided by the Albanese Labor government. UnitingCare New South Wales and ACT executive director Tracy Burton said the wage rise had made life-changing differences to workers and to the sector. Not only are UnitingCare seeing an influx of new staff, they are seeing what they call boomerangs - workers who left due to the lack of support provided by those opposite, and who are now returning to aged care because they are finally being paid what they deserve.
Data received from Seek shows that there has been a 66 per cent increase in applications for aged care nursing roles, and a 55 per cent increase for personal care job ads from January to June this year.
This is what it looks like, Mr Speaker, when you have a government that cares - a government that is working for Australia.