Nurses bombard treasurer’s inbox

The QNU is urging Queenslanders to send Wayne Swan an email in a bid to make 2010 the year of the aged care budget.

Queenslanders have been urged to put pressure on treasurer Wayne Swan to make aged care a major issue in this year’s federal budget.

The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) is urging people across the state to email the treasurer, expressing their concern for the sector.

“Our aged care system is already buckling under the pressure of too few nurses and not enough funding, and with an extra 90,000 Australians to require aged care in the next 10 years, I am worried about the future for older people in this country,” says a form letter on the group’s website.

The email strategy is part of the Australian Nursing Federation’s national ‘Because we care campaign’ which calls for pay rises, mandated staffing ratios and a national licensing system for carers.

QNU secretary Gay Hawksworth said the aged care sector will experience a crisis over the next decade as a large proportion of the nursing workforce retires.

“When those nurses go it will be very difficult to replace them,” said Ms Hawksworth.

“They are absolutely committed to aged care and have worked in the sector for years.

“But with an average wage gap of around $300 a week, we know that younger nurses, even if they loved aged care, wouldn’t be able to afford to work in private sector aged care. They just have to pay their bills and the mortgage.”

The email campaign will be supported over the next two months by a statewide letterbox drop and a series of television and newspaper advertisements.

And if 2010 is not the year of the aged care budget, the QNU is warning that it could use its lobbying power to punish the Rudd Government at the polls.

“Nurses, through the Your Rights at Work campaign during the last federal election, have shown they are strong and effective campaigners if they decide something is worth campaigning for,” said Ms Hawksworth.

“Hopefully, Mr Swan will listen to this message as he finalises this year’s budget over the next few months.”

Click here to see the form letter to Wayne Swan.

Tags: aged-care, budget, campaign, it, online, queensland-nurses-union, wayne-swan,

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