Labor will restore humanity to aged care

06 April 2022

CANBERRA MATTERS, Cessnock Advertiser, April 6, 2022

If ever there was a week to illustrate the difference between our major political parties, it was Budget week.

Last Tuesday, the Liberal Treasurer talked up a set of numbers that make up 'the economy' and on Thursday Labor leader Anthony Albanese talked about a better future for all Australians.

A centrepiece of Mr Albanese's inspirational address was Labor's aged care policy, and I am incredibly proud of that.

As you know, ensuring quality of care for older Australians is important to me, and I know it is important to many of you.

An Albanese Labor Government will stop the neglect and put security, dignity, quality, and humanity back into aged care for older Australians.

In Government, Labor will require that a registered nurse is on duty in residential aged care 24 hours a day and make sure residents get nutritious food.

We will increase the time carers spend with residents. We will formally support a pay rise for aged care workers. And we will require more transparency in the system to make sure that taxpayers' money is spent on caring for residents.

No one can deny that we have a crisis in aged care. We have had numerous reports and a Royal Commission that have highlighted issues of neglect of residents and burnout of workers.

One of the most devastating findings of the Royal Commission was that two-thirds of aged care residents are malnourished or at risk of malnourishment. That is an indictment on the Morrison Government, which still fails to act.

Labor believes the $2.5 billion required to fix the crisis in aged care is worth every cent. Our frail, vulnerable and elderly Australians deserve nothing but the best care, and Labor will ensure that is what they receive.

Our aged care workers - some of the lowest paid yet most dedicated workers in Australia - deserve better pay and conditions. Workers are leaving the sector in droves, and new people are not signing up. Labor will turn this around.

In his Budget reply, Anthony Albanese drew attention to two other Labor policies that will improve the lives of many Australians. Labor will deliver cheaper childcare to 96 percent of families and will help people in the regions buy their first home with a 5 percent deposit, not the 20 percent usually required.

In contrast to Labor's long-term plan to improve the lives of all Australians, the Liberals delivered an election budget - long on promises and short on plans. Their Budget is not about the future of the country, it is about the future of the Coalition. Labor's plan is about the future of all Australians.

In the lead-up to the election in May, I would urge you all to 'compare the pair' and ask yourself this: Are the Liberals really looking after you, or are they simply looking after themselves?

I'd invite you to look closely at Labor's policies - not what the Liberals or their media friends say about Labor's policies - and look closely at what Labor can deliver for you.