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     8   Aged care workers

Ms Collins, pursuant to notice, moved—That this House:

(1)        notes:

(a)        the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on older Australians, their families, their carers and the aged care workforce;

(b)        the valuable contributions made by the more than 360,000 aged care workers who have continued to deliver care and support to older Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic;

(c)        all aged care workers play a valuable role to deliver care and support to older Australians in residential and home care;

(d)        many aged care workers are low paid and around 87 per cent of them are women;

(e)        the Government’s decision to exclude a large proportion of aged care workers from receiving the retention bonus;

(f)         excluded aged care workers who will not receive the retention bonus include those delivering services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program as well as in-direct care workers in residential aged care facilities including lifestyle and leisure therapists, cleaners, hospitality workers and gardeners;

(g)        the exclusion of any aged care worker from receiving the retention bonus is unwarranted and unfair;

(h)        on 20 March 2020 the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians issued a media release that stated the retention bonus payment would be ‘after tax’; and

(i)         on 5 June 2020 the Department of Health’s retention bonus guidelines stated the payment would be ‘subject to income tax’;

(2)        conveys its disappointment that the Government made a:

(a)        decision to exclude about 40 per cent of aged care workers from receiving the retention bonus; and

(b)        late decision to switch the retention bonus from being after tax to being before tax that will see aged care workers lose hundreds of dollars they were previously promised;

(3)        calls on the Government, as a matter of urgency, to reconsider its decision and pay the retention bonus to all aged care workers irrespective of their role or where they work and to explain why it changed the rules around the payment being after tax to the payment now being subject to income tax; and

(4)        acknowledges the work all aged care workers undertake each and every day and thanks them for their continued dedication to care and support older Australians in residential and home care.

Debate ensued.

 

 

Suspension of meeting

At 5.02 pm, a division having been called in the House, the proceedings were suspended.

Resumption of meeting

At 5.15 pm, the proceedings were resumed.

 

 

 

Debate continued.

The time allotted for the debate having expired, the debate was interrupted, and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.