Friday, September 13, 2013

Slash and Burn: Abbott attacks Aged and Child Care Workers

The Coalition intends to hive off $1.5 billion of wage increases for up to 350,000 workers in aged and child care. This despite the election promise "No worker will be worse off".

A spokesman for Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott confirmed the funding for higher wages committed by the Gillard Labor government would be redirected because the money was agreed to through agreements negotiated by unions.

The federal bureaucracy has also ditched payments from the $300 million Early Years Quality Fund established by the Gillard government to cover wage increases for childcare workers. The Coalition plans to stop what they regard as "wage subsidies".

The Coalition government will be able to reallocate Labor’s $1.2 billion Aged Care Workforce Supplement with the approval of the House of Representatives within 15 days of the first sitting day of the new Parliament.

Under the Aged Care Workforce Compact introduced as part of the Labor government’s Living Longer Living Better policy, many aged-care workers were scheduled to receive minimum annual wage increases of 2.75 per cent, backdated to July.

The office of outgoing Labor minister for mental health and ageing, Jacinta Collins, said 248 aged-care ­providers had applied for the subsidy by August 20.

“It looks like the [Coalition’s] first act in the job will be to put the knife to the pay of Australia’s 350,000 strong aged-care workforce,” a spokeswoman for Senator Collins said.

“The tragic reality is that the ­Coalition will rip these pay increases out of the pockets of hard-working nurses and aged-care workers at a time when we need to help the aged-care workforce almost triple in size by 2050 to meet the demands of the ageing population.”

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