May 3rd 2021

Nurses and loved ones rally near Scott Morrison's office for aged care funding

WHAT: Speeches, interviews and photo opportunities
WHERE: Cronulla Plaza, Kingsway, Cronulla
WHEN: 10am, Tuesday May 4
WHO: GetUp members and spokespeople, the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association, the Quality Aged Care Action Group, family members of aged care residents

Registered nurses, aged care advocates and family members of aged care residents will rally in Cronulla Plaza on Tuesday to demand the Federal Government commit to fully funding the aged care sector's drastically needed overhaul in the upcoming Budget.

As the Morrison Government prepares to unveil its aged care package in the 2021-2022 Budget, hundreds of GetUp members and supporters of decent aged care will rally in Cronulla Plaza, near Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office, to send a message that the community demands real solutions to the ongoing crisis in the aged care sector.

GetUp human rights campaigner Tessa Pang said:

"The experts have been loud and clear: $10 billion over four years is nowhere near what's needed to fix the crisis in aged care. The Royal Commission's recommendations require at least $7 billion a year to ensure adequate staffing levels and quality care for residents. 

"But this is not just about funding. Morrison needs to commit to fixing the staffing crisis by empowering aged care workers through proper training, proper workplace protections and proper staffing levels. He also needs to hold private providers accountable by enforcing transparency over how money is spent. Without these policy changes, funding won’t be enough to fix the aged care crisis. 

"Aged care residents and staff can't afford a half-hearted response. More than 90,000 people are on the waiting list for home care support. Last week, we saw reports that aged care facilities across Victoria are at risk of closure unless the Federal Government steps up.

"Aged care is a public right, not a private luxury. It's something every Australian has the right to expect, not another way for private corporations to enrich their executives. That's why the Government must also commit to passing a new Aged Care Act that would enshrine every Australians' right to decent care."

Registered nurse and NSWNMA councillor Jocelyn Hofman said:

“This interim report from the Royal Commission was submitted to our Prime Minister 18 months ago and the final report in March. While we wait, 68 per cent of our residents are at risk of malnutrition because of chronic understaffing. While we wait, some facilities do not employ a registered nurse 24/7.

“What happens when a resident with an inoperable tumor is in excruciating pain and there is no nurse onsite to administer medicine to make them comfortable?

“We want to deliver the safest care for our older Australians, our mothers and fathers, who are the end of their lives’ journey and should be treated with care and respect so they are pain-free, comfortable, have their dignity maintained and their wishes respected.

“Is it too much to ask of our Prime Minister to have mandated ratios and skills mix so we can deliver high quality care?”

Quality Aged Care Action Group Incorporated president Margaret Zanghi said:

"QACAG represent people working in aged care and those with relatives in aged care so we know what it means for everyone involved in caring for loved ones.

"The reality is that you can’t fix aged care unless you mandate a minimum ratio of nurses to residents so our carers can provide the best nursing care that our residents need.

"We need to prioritise the care of the resident first, not the business model."

GetUp volunteer and aged care resident family member Cookie Lloyd said:

“My mum went into aged care at 93. I've witnessed the impact of the Morrison Government's systematic defunding of aged care first-hand and their obvious disregard for vulnerable and elderly Australians.

“The current model for delivering aged care is broken.  My mum, and many others like her in aged care, are treated as commodities – fitted to a stereotype of playing bingo and eating pureed foods. My mum hates bingo and has forgotten the taste of a fresh tomato.  Aged care must be about the dignity and welfare of those using it and not left to companies and organisations and their focus on profits.”

**Media contacts:**Alex McKinnon, GetUp: 0411 829 334
**Gia Hayne, NSWNMA**: 0488 015 317

Spokespeople:

Tessa Pang, human rights campaigner at GetUp
Jocelyn Hofman, registered nurse and councillor at New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association
Margaret Zanghi, president of Quality Aged Care Action Group Incorporated
Cookie Lloyd, GetUp member and daughter to an aged care resident