South Australian Labor Senator Karen Grogan has signed a pledge to support the state's "exhausted, overworked and under-resourced" aged care workers.
A former worker in then Federal Minister for Health Mark Butler's Ministerial Office, Senator Grogan is no stranger to the issues of aged care.
"Just recently, we saw the closure of Kindred Living's Annie Lockwood Court in Whyalla and the pressure it put on staff, residents and families,'' she said.
"The Morrison Government's response to the Royal Commission and the aged care crisis has been abysmal," Senator Grogan said.
"Of the 148 recommendations, over half are not being implemented or aren't being implemented properly."
Senator Gorgan said she was pleased to sign the Australian National Midwifery Federation's (ANMF) aged care pledge for at least one registered nurse on at all times, mandated staffing ratios, greater transparency of funding tied to care and improved wages and conditions for staff.
ANMF (SA Branch) CEO Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars said it was time for the Morrison Government to act on fixing the issues with the aged care sector.
"We hear from members every day on issues with aged care, we have had a Royal Commission and yet the Government hasn't taken on any of the recommendations," she said.
"What we are saying is it's not too much to ask for quality care to elderly South Australians; and it's not too much to ask for the aged care workers to get decent wages and have decent working conditions," said Ms Dabars.
Senator Grogan has a longstanding history in fighting for Australia's lowest paid workers, including those in the aged care sector.
"The Liberals can't be trusted to pay dedicated aged care workers properly even though the workforce is key to delivering a high-quality aged care system,'' Senator Grogan said.
"Labor believes aged care workers should be paid more and that there should be more of them."
The ANMF campaign is asking for support for four key actions:
- RN 24/7 - at least one registered nurse on site at all times
- Minimum mandated care hours and the right skills mix
- Greater transparency - funding tied to care
- Improved wages and conditions
Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck claimed that the Morrison Government had put more funding into aged care, having invested $18.3 billion since the Royal Commission.
"This has already resulted in tangible action across the five pillars of reform - including measures to protect senior and vulnerable Australians and those who care for them in residential and in-home settings," he said.
"We also recognise the additional pressures on staffing across the health and aged care sector.
"As part of the Royal Commission response, the Government has made a significant investment of $652.1 million to grow the aged care workforce."