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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

COTA leads consumer support for 25 per cent pay raise for aged care workers

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Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia is backing claims for a 25 per cent pay boost for aged care workers.

In a public statement endorsed by Carers Australia, Elder Abuse Action Australia, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, National Seniors Australia and the Older Persons Advocacy Network, COTA Australia says the claim for a 25 per cent increase in the various aged care award wages currently being considered by the Fair Work Commission sets the bar if Australia is serious about building a safe, secure, respectful and rights-based aged care system.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said the fact that aged care workers are currently paid significantly less than people working in equivalent jobs in other industries is a very real risk to older Australians.

“For years COTA has backed the advice of experts, most recently the aged care royal commissioners, that raising wages in aged care is essential to achieving better outcomes in the system,” Yates said.

“Older Australians and their families expect and deserve a world-class aged care system, but big changes are needed if we’re to attract and maintain a skilled aged care workforce.

“The consequences of failing to pay workers properly are far-reaching.

“When our aged care staff are overworked and underpaid, our society’s perception of the value of their work diminishes and the quality of care for older Australians suffers.”

Yates said based on submissions to the aged care industry work value case currently before the Fair Work Commission, the Commission will establish the appropriate increase in the hourly rate for aged care workers to ensure the sector can attract the best people for the roles.

“Older Australians value the aged care workers who care for them and want them to have secure, safe, well paid jobs to provide the care that older Australians deserve,” Yates said.

“The bottom line is that if Australia is to have a quality aged care system, the public, through the Government, and the users of aged care, need to be willing to pay for it.

“It’s not good enough that aged care workers are amongst the lowest paid in the nation when their work is essential to the health, wellbeing, and dignity of tens of thousands of older Australians.

“It’s time we started properly valuing the vital work done by Australia’s aged care workforce.”

To read COTA’s full statement of support, click here.

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