A slap in the face

What prompted ACAA CEO, Rod Young, to declare the government has “deserted aged care workers”?

Above: Rod Young, Chief executive officer of Aged Care Association Australia.

By Stephen Easton

Both aged care peak bodies have today expressed the strong disappointment and frustration felt by many in the sector at the latest indexation of Commonwealth funding for aged care, which takes effect from tomorrow.

Leaders of both bodies issued statements today condemning the 1.9 per cent increase to Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and Resident Classification Scale (RCS) subsidies, which they argue falls short of other increases in costs for providers.

CEO of the Aged Care Association of Australia, Rod Young, said the increase amounted to $2.20 per resident per day, which would not even cover higher wages bills resulting from a recent decision by Fair Work Australia to increase the minimum wage by 3.4 per cent.

Mr Young also contended that the $2.20 increase was less than the increase in electricity prices faced by the average household, and the price of a single banana.

“Aged care workers, due to the long term underfunding from the current model, are some of the lowest paid workers in the health system,” he said. “If the industry is to be able to attract and retain the necessary quality staff in the future, then it must be given the resources to reward our current and future hard working employees.”

Mr Young has also questioned whether the departmental bureaucrats had correctly applied their own formula for working out the increase, which he believed to be “calculated using 25% of the CPI and 75% of WorkPlace Australia’s minimum wage increase”.

“Using the Government’s own formula, ACAA arrived at an indexation figure of 2.355 per cent,” he stated. “Has the Government changed the formula?”

“The Gillard Government has obviously deserted aged care workers yet condemned the NSW Government for attempting to restrict expenditure on wages. Aged care providers are therefore nonplussed that government can expect providers to meet the cost of competitive wages when their subsidy from government is restricted to 1.9 per cent.”

Above: Patrick McClure, CEO of Aged and Community Services Australia.

A short time later, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) released a similar statement from CEO, Patrick McClure AO, in which he said aged care providers wanted to know how the Government could justify the inadequate increase, especially after significantly higher increases in the cost of living.

Like Mr Young, he quoted figures showing that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 3.3 per cent in the past 12 months and added that prices for fuel, vegetables and pharmaceuticals had also risen considerably in the March quarter alone.

“Older people living in their homes and those in residential aged care bear the brunt of funding shortfalls which directly impact on services,” Mr McClure said. “With no additional funding for aged care in this year’s Federal Budget, 1.9 per cent indexation compounds the problem.” 

The ACSA chief added that rate of indexation was one factor among many identified by the Productivity Commission (PC) as a weakness indicating the need for fundamental reform. 

“Real reform is at hand now the PC’s final report is with the Government, but the means for aged care providers to maintain and bolster services remain elusive.”

“The Minister for [Mental Health and] Ageing has stated that developing fair and sustainable funding arrangements for aged care may be one of the hardest achievements for his Government.”

“It will be that much more difficult if there is no action to sustain the industry in the short term.”

“We again call on the Government to restore the 1.75 per cent subsidy for residential care services and extend it to community care, pending a cost of care study proposed by the PC.”

Tags: acfi, aged-and-community-services-australia, aged-care-association-australia, indexation, patrick-mcclure, prodcutivity-commission, rcs, resident-classification-scale, rod-young,

8 thoughts on “A slap in the face

  1. Mark Butler is the Justin Beiber of Aged Care…….dimples are not enough!

  2. What can you say? SHAME, SHAME, SHAME.
    We should all fear for the future provision of aged care services as obviously no one in this governemnt is prepared to take any responsibility. So much for hollow promises about providing for the elderly.
    Fast forwards a couple of decades and you can hear the spin; “Ageing problem solved-Baby Boomers no more”(Great outcome by an even greater government,simple to achieve and whats more, didnt even have to do anything)
    This is a government without ideas or common decency that cant even provide basic funding yet wants a first class service for a second rate contribution.

  3. This was a missed opportunity to press for the creation of an independent pricing authority for aged care, as recommended by the Productivity Commission.

  4. It’s a good thing that nobody in Australia cares about anyone but themselves, otherwise there’d be a revolution over how we fund the aged. Pity the poor aged care worker who is effectively subisdising aged care in the country.

  5. If the peak bodies were doing their job effectively, they would be telling the government what they required from them to do the job the government is reposnible for i.e. caring fro Australian citizens when they are no longer able to do this themselves. Instead the two CEO’s express strong disapproval, give me a break, who in their wildest dreams would imagine this government could care less. Unless the goverment sees an organised sustained campaign promising loss of votes from the hundreds of thousands of people employed in aged care nothing will change. I ask you: whilst Rod Young and Patrick McClure occupy comfortable offices with extremely generous salaries far from the world occupied by the people they should be representing, why would they do more than whinge. We don’t need more whingers in aged care we need effective leadership. Both should step aside if they can not offer more than rhetoric, there is far too much of that it achieves nothing and I for one am tired of seeing real distress whilst those two – and the rest of the blokes comfortably enconsed far from the front line – waffle on and nothing for the people who live and work, in grossly under resourced circumstances, ever changes.

  6. Isn’t it amazing that in the real world people are so demanding and have high expectations of service provision, yet really don’t value the good decent care workers and staff that are effectively supporting the Aged Care Industry.

  7. Why don’t we put them in an aged care bed and allow them to gain first-hand experience of the work that aged care nurses carry out!….and then be shown the going rate for that work!

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