27 March 2024

Remarkable aged care workers

Ms WELLS (Lilley—Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Sport): I thank the Member for Lalor for her question. The Albanese Government knows that strong, sustainable wage growth is part of the solution to cost-of-living challenges – not part of the problem. That’s why we believe that workers deserve to earn more and keep more of what they earn. And that’s why, unlike the Opposition, we backed aged care workers in their fight for better wages at the Fair Work Commission. And… unlike the opposition… we delivered… Delivered a 15% increase to award wage minimums for 250,000 workers. An $11.3 billion dollar commitment! Under the Albanese Government, registered nurses are now taking home an additional $196 a week, or more than $10,000 a year. Personal care workers are now taking home an additional $141 a week, or $7,300 a year. And that pay rise is changing lives around the country. Today I met with Jocelyn, Sue, Donna and Michelle. These four women have 103 years of experience between them working in aged care. They are stewards for change in aged care. Before the Royal Commission, they were the canaries in the coal mine. They marched through this place begging for help when the Coalition were in power, their pleas falling on deaf ears. Jocelyn sung and danced in the halls of Parliament House the day the now Prime Minister delivered his budget reply speech, promising to back a pay rise for aged care workers. Sue was with us at Hammondcare Miranda after we funded the pay rise. And today these women told me that for the first time, a lot of their colleagues have become the breadwinners of their household. Some of them, earning more money then their teenagers – can you believe that wasn’t the case before? But we know that cost of living is still biting workers like Sue, Jocelyn, Donna and Michelle. That’s why from 1 July, the Albanese Government will deliver a tax cut for every single Australian taxpayer, so that every taxpayer, including aged care workers, can earn more, and keep more of what they earn. 97% of aged care workers, who are overwhelmingly women, will be better off under Labor’s tax cuts. So not only can a registered nurse working in aged care take home $10,000 more under the Albanese Government, they’ll also get a tax cut of $1,679 from 1 July under Labor’s tax cuts – almost double what they would have gotten from the Coalition. And while I have a moment… can I put my sport minister hat on and congratulate… the GOAT… the living legend… Lauren Jackson for selection in the Opals squad for the Paris Olympics… as she chases her fifth Olympic medal.