In the lead up to the federal election, Catholic Health Australia is calling on candidates in crucial battleground seats to declare their support for better pay and better training for the aged care workforce.

“This campaign is designed to remind all politicians of their obligations to older Australians at a time when the community is judging them on their commitments,” CHA CEO Pat Garcia told Australian Ageing Agenda.

The CHA campaign, Fight for Better Aged Care, is targeting both Liberal and Labor MPs in marginal seats of below six per cent. “Our job is to keep aged care front of their minds,” said Mr Garcia.

Pat Garcia

When Australians go to the ballot on 21 May they deserve to know if they are voting for a candidate who supports improving aged care, he added.

“We need to remind politicians and the community that there is still a lot of work to do to ensure the royal commission recommendations are implemented.”

Whichever party prevails in a fortnight and forms government “there will be an expectation by the community that it will address the need for a better trained and remunerated aged care workforce,” said Mr Garcia.

Residential aged care staff are working hard and doing the best they can in a challenging environment, he said. “But we need better pay to drive recruitment and retention, and better training to improve care for residents.”

CHA is urging the public to personally get behind its advocacy campaign. “We need the support of everyone,” said Mr Garcia. “Those of you with parents in homes who see the conditions too many people live in, carers who are desperately waiting for support, and all of us who will one day need care.”

Mr Garcia said it was beholden on voters to look out for older Australians. “They gave us the prosperity and fairness that makes Australia such an excellent place to live. We owe it to them to properly fund aged care, so they can enjoy dignity and comfort in retirement.”

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