The ANMF Tasmania Branch are extremely concerned about a number of attacks upon the aged care sector and the impacts this may have on nurses and care workers working within it.
Recent changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and indexation freeze have meant a real reduction in funding to the sector. This is having a flow on effect to nurses and care workers in terms of their pay and conditions, as well as on staffing levels and skill mix. Further reduction in funding could challenge the ability of nurses and care workers to provide safe quality care to their residents due to a lack of resources.
ANMF are equally fearful that penalty rates in the sector may be targeted following the Fair Work Commission’s announcement to cut penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers. ANMF legal advice has highlighted that this decision may extend to nursing care in the aged care sector, as work in some instances may be considered to be ‘non-essential’.
ANMF are dismayed that any work performed by nurses and care workers could be considered ‘non-essential’. ANMF are firmly of the view that care delivered by nurses and care workers in the aged care sector is absolutely essential and that any reduction in penalty rates would be short sighted.
ANMF understand that nurses and care workers in the aged care sector are already some of the lowest paid nurses and care workers in Tasmania. Reducing penalty rates would cause further disadvantage. The workforce would risk losing skilled staff to other sectors leaving our elderly, who require essential nursing care, vulnerable.
ANMF are committed to addressing these issues faced by nurses and care workers in aged care sectors. We are working on developing a campaign that will be launched in the coming weeks. This campaign will address the issues outlined above at both at a state and Federal level. ANMF will do their best (federally and locally) to ensure that our nursing teams in aged care are protected.
ANMF are dedicated to standing strong to protect the rights of not just nurses, but the entire aged care team, including care workers. Nurses and care workers can stand strong together under the ANMF banner to ensure their residents receive the care they deserve.
We encourage all nursing and care staff to ensure that your concerns and rights are heard by joining the ANMF today. If you are not already a member, or know someone who is not, we encourage you to contact your workplace ANMF representative or organiser to ensure you and your colleagues are represented in our campaign.
Authorised by Emily Shepherd (Acting Branch Secretary)
23 March 2017