13 February 2024

Investing in aged care workers

Ms WELLS (Lilley—Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Sport) (14:39): I thank the member for Macnamara for his question and would like to acknowledge his advocacy for the aged-care workers in his electorate, particularly the wonderful workers we visited at Emmy Monash Aged Care in Melbourne. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was a damning report on the quality of aged care in this country and it spanned five very long volumes. For the benefit of those opposite—that dynamic cast of characters who have regaled us all in Nemesis and who, across 4.5 hours of ruminating, never once passed the subject of the aged-care crisis on their watch—I will distil that report down to just one word, and that word is 'neglect'. The Albanese government, however, understands that the best investment we can make to lift the standard of aged care in Australia is to make an investment in aged-care workers. That's why we delivered an $11.3 billion increase to the minimum award for 250,000 aged-care workers, and that's why we've provided fee-free TAFE so people who are passionate about caring for older people can turn that passion into a career and receive a certificate III in individual support for free, saving up to $5,600. That's why we are delivering a tax cut for every single aged care worker. I recently went and met with residents and workers at the MiCare Avondrust Lodge in Carrum Downs, which is in the electorate of Dunkley. I went there alongside Jodie Belyea, and we spoke to an aged-care worker named Dawn. Dawn is a breast cancer survivor and has worked in aged care for seven years. Dawn loves her job because she gets to care for older people, including her mother-in-law, who lives in the home that she works at. Good on you, Dawn! But love doesn't pay Dawn's bills, and we know that aged-care workers like Dawn are facing cost-ofliving pressures. That is why we are delivering a tax cut for Dawn and for every single one of her colleagues. But, while we are delivering dollars for aged-care workers, the coalition are only delivering yet more lip service.