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Stop underpaying aged care workers: nurse

The aged care industry is big business. It accounts for approximately one per cent of Australia’s GDP, with revenues of over $20 billion and approximately 5 per cent annual growth.

For the near quarter of a million aged care workers, this should equate to good working conditions and fair pay. However, time and again we hear from frontline workers that this isn’t the case. Along with staff-to-patient ratios, there are increasing calls for aged care workers to get significant pay increases.

During this year’s election campaign, Labor caused uproar among aged care workers with its promise to increase the wages of low-paid childcare workers but ignoring calls for similar action for them.

Elsewhere, COTA chief executive Ian Yates told the Royal Commission earlier this year that: “The aged care sector overall is underpaid by a factor of at least 15 per cent, that’s a real challenge, yes, and I think getting stuff right is going to be a very important part of the focus and outcome of this commission.”

Gay Taylor, an RN with six years’ experience working in aged care, believes the reasons aged care workers are ignored are myriad.

The marketisation of the sector stemming from reform in the 80s has kept staffing levels low and she believes that these staff do not want to appear greedy or uncaring in fighting for better wages.

Taylor spoke with Aged Care Insite to unpack some of these issues.

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