Aged care workers called “angels on earth” by a grateful Prime Minister
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called into HammondCare Miranda Mason on Friday to personally thank nurses and care workers for their lifechanging work after their 15 per cent pay rise in this week’s Federal Budget.
Mr Albanese, together with Aged Care Minister Anika Wells, called on all aged care bosses to follow the example of HammondCare Chief Executive Mike Baird and commit to passing on every cent to workers, whom he called “angels on earth”.
“HammondCare is one of the remarkable institutions that provides quality care that values its workforce,” Mr Albanese said.
“I am very pleased that they’ve said that they will pass on the 15 per cent in full.”
The Prime Minister and Minister were taken through the new Mason aged care home, a $25 million, 60-bed, multi-level aged care home for frail aged residents opened by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is also local MP, last October.
The innovative design from Allen Jack+Cottier comprises 6 apartment of 10 residents to maximise care and offer a homelike atmosphere. The apartments are designed around HammondCare’s world-class cottage model of design.
Mr Albanese said the building was magnificent “but the real thing that matters is the workforce,” he said.
“This 15 per cent pay increase is showing these aged care workers that we not only thank them, but we actually believe that they deserve an increase in their wages and conditions,” he said.
Mr Baird, who has advocated for the 15 per cent pay rise, said the improved wages were overdue recognition for the nurses, care workers, chefs and everyone else providing frontline aged care.
“What’s so special about having the Prime Minister and the Aged care Minister here today is that they’ve said to these care workers and these nurses here today and those across the sector that you matter,” Mr Baird said.
“Our country has said you matter. We value you and everything you do and it’s something we are very proud of.” Mr Baird said.
Ms Wells described meeting staff and hearing what the 15 per cent means to them as being like a “tonic”.
She described the pay rise as being lifechanging as it increased pay packets by $7000 a year for care workers and $10,000 for nurses.
“Aged care workers and aged care nurses do some of the most important work in the country looking after some of the most vulnerable Australians and helping our older Australians age well,” Ms Wells said.
“For so long, they have been undervalued. We are not just giving them our thanks -- we are giving them a pay rise 15 per cent above the award,” she said.
Ms Wells said it was the Federal Government’s “clear expectation” that all providers will sign the pledge and pass along every cent to aged care workers.
Among the HammondCare Miranda workers the Prime Minister and Minister personally thanked were care workers Bhawan Khatiwada and Rupa Budhathoki.