26 February 2024

Pay rise for aged care workers

Ms WELLS (Lilley—Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Sport) (15:03): I thank the member for Bennelong for his question. Last week he and I met with aged-care workers in his electorate at Uniting Arrunga in Ermington. One of the many reasons that I am proud to be a member of this government is that we prioritised aged-care workers and people like Joan, who the member for Bennelong and I met last. Joan is a personal-care worker who works and lives in the electorate of Bennelong. Joan told us that she started working in aged care more than ten years ago with her friends Christie, Melinda and Judy. When they began working in aged care last decade, Joan and her friends were receiving less than $20 per hour. Imagine that—being paid less than $20 per hour to do some of the most valuable and yet demanding work that we have in this country. But Joan stuck with it because she loves her job and because she loves the people who she looks after. This year, for the very first time, Joan was able to tell us that her pay now exceeds $30 an hour. That is because the Albanese government made a commitment to back workers like Joan, like Christie, like Melinda and like Judy in the Fair Work Commission to get a meaningful pay rise. And that is what we did. That commitment has meant that personal care workers like Joan are now taking home an additional $141 per week, or more than $7,300 every year. On this side we recognise that there are tough economic realities at play at the moment. That is the difference between us and those opposite; we are determined to help. We are providing even more cost-of-living relief by making sure that people like Joan and her friends can earn more and keep more of what they earn. From 1 July, Labor's tax cuts will also deliver personal-care workers in aged care an $1,166 tax cut, almost double what they were due to receive from the coalition. This investment in aged-care workers is paying dividends for the older people in their care.