Yesterday, HSU members working at RFBI Lake Haven met with local MP Emma McBride and the Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese to raise their frustrations at the Federal Government’s cruel and unfair retention payment that excludes 40% of the aged care workforce.
Members had sent a local petition to Ms McBride to express the disappointment of all staff, including those who were entitled to the payment.
“In rewarding only the nursing staff, personal care workers and allied health professionals for continuing to work throughout the pandemic, this indicates that their work is more significant and highly valued than that being done by other staff. How can anyone determine that the provision of personal care is more important or less safe than the provision of emotional support, social interaction (especially with the restrictions to family visits) nutritious and appropriate meals, clean clothes or a hygienic and safe living environment?”
I want to acknowledge those members who spoke passionately on behalf of the whole aged care sector – particularly Leanne, who was the driving force behind the petition. I think it’s fair to say that Ms McBride and Mr Albanese were convinced.
The problem is they aren’t part of the Government and can’t reverse this poor decision. Nor are they able to make the changes we desperately need in aged care – better wages, better funding, better jobs.
We need the Federal Government to act now. So it’s time to get political.
Members like Leanne and those at RFBI are part of a growing group who are taking our demands to politicians. Local organising committees are starting to form. We can’t sit back and expect politicians to do the right thing unless we push them into action.