Aged care legislation must pass, but success of Compact in doubt

A survey of aged care providers reveals one in five will not sign up to the Government's Aged Care Workforce Compact, and a further one in five are unlikely to sign up, putting success of Government plans to tie aged care funding to workplace industrial conditions in doubt.

Catholic providers of 4,318 residential aged care places and 3,327 home care packages responded to the Catholic Health Australia (CHA) survey this month, following the Government's release of details of the Aged Care Workforce Compact.

Key findings of the survey were:

• All survey respondents currently pay above award conditions;

• 20 per cent of survey respondents said they would not sign the Workforce Compact;

• A further 20 per cent of respondents said they were unlikely to sign the Workforce Compact.

Chief executive officer Martin Laverty said as a member of the Government's advisory group to set up the Workforce Compact, CHA had consistently argued pay rises should be fully funded and government contracts should not stipulate industrial outcomes.

"By not fully funding proposed pay rises and inserting industrial requirements into the Workforce Compact, some aged care providers are now saying they will not sign on. This was always likely to be the outcome," Mr Laverty explained.

"A Senate Inquiry is reviewing the Government's five aged care Bills. It is CHA's strong hope that the Inquiry recommends the aged care Bills be passed, and that the Parliament follows by passing the five Bills into law before September's Federal Election.

"However, the Inquiry should also consider if the Workforce Compact is indeed the best way to increase take home pay for aged care staff," Mr Laverty continued.

"CHA supports pay increases, and recognises aged care staff should be better paid. But if the Government wants to see all aged care staff benefit from pay increases, the Compact doesn't look like achieving its goal. That's why we have called for its removal from the proposed legislation."


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