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Nurses protest in Melbourne for better pay

Protest outside Productivity Commission offices over aged care nurses wages.

Nurses in the aged care industry yesterday demonstrated in Melbourne demanding better wages and more care for older Australians.

The nurses, who marched on the Productivity Commission offices where hearings into the aged care industry are being held, say they are $300 a week worse off than their counterparts in public hospitals.

Australian Nursing Federation federal secretary Lee Thomas said an independent report showed that a registered nurse on average is delivering just 22 minutes of care per day per nursing home resident.

Thomas said the time spent for each resident should be four-and-a-half hours per day.

"We think that four and a half hours of care is a minimum that each resident should receive in residential care every day," Thomas said.

"We need to have the Productivity Commission consider more fully the issue of wages - it is not unusual for a nurse working in aged care to earn on average $300 week less than nurses working in other sectors."

Thomas said the wage gap is resulting in aged care nurses taking up better offers at hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

"When times get tough and budgets get tighter, nurses need to make decisions and if they can earn up to $300 a week more by working in the public hospital down the road they those decisions have to be made," she said.

The ANF will present a petition with 20,000 signatures to the Productivity Commission in recognition of the public support for the need for the federal government to fix the system.


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