THE Federal Government must seize on the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission to establish a permanent and sustainable funding source, by increasing the Medicare levy, according to the Health Services Union (HSU).
The HSU first proposed the measure in a submission to the Royal Commission last August. The HSU commissioned economic modelling which showed a 0.65 percent rise in the Medicare levy would raise $20.4 billion over four years, funding a pay rise, an additional 59,000 aged care jobs and close to 90 minutes of additional resident care per day.
The Commission has now taken up the suggestion, but it requires the support of the Federal Government in the May Budget to become a reality.
“A Medicare-style levy can transform aged care,” HSU national president Gerard Hayes said. “Just like Medicare this could make the system simpler, cheaper and fairer.
“With a guaranteed and sustainable funding stream, we could increase the size of the workforce and pay them more so they stay in the industry. This would trigger a quantum leap forward in quality of care for residents.
“Everyone deserves dignity in their later life but it requires decisive action from Government to become a reality.
“This crisis has festered for years. Now is the time for action.”
Work value case:
- In November, the Health Services Union launched a landmark work value case in the Fair Work Commission to lift wages for the aged care workforce by 25 percent.
- If the case succeeds, over 200,000 personal carers, activities officers, catering, cleaning, and administration workers would see their pay rise by at least $5 an hour.
- The starting rate for a personal carer is currently $21.96 per hour, and the average carer retires with $18,000 in superannuation
- If the HSU claim succeeds a qualified personal carer would see their wages increase from $23.09 to $28.86 an hour. The HSU claim also seeks to build in career paths and to recognise specialist carers in areas like dementia or palliative care.
- The HSU released economic modelling in September which showed a 0.65 percent rise in the Medicare levy would raise $20.4 billion over four years, funding a pay rise, an additional 59,000 aged care jobs and close to 90 minutes of additional resident care per day.