Over 5000 healthcare workers in the aged care sector have lost their jobs due to the Government’s oversights during the reforms process and the grim numbers have prompted local workers and community advocates to gather in Canberra to mourn the job losses.
The event will be held this Thursday and feature a minute of silence to honour the affected workers.
The event is aimed at highlighting the vital importance of Enrolled Nurses (ENs) and allied health professionals in the aged care sector.
Alwyn Blayse, physiotherapist and CEO of Allied Aged Care said that the job losses have been steadily increasing since the October 2022 transition from the previous Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) to the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC).
The event will coincide with a Senate petition lodged by Greens Senator, Janet Rice, calling for a solution to bring back employees who have lost their jobs.
The petition, organised by Blayse, has 21,000 signatures and calls on Federal Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, to amend the Aged Care Act to include minimum mandatory allied health and EN minutes in the Star Ratings quality indicators.
Mr Blayserevealed that the stories from the coalface are heart-wrenching, with the AN-ACC causing a cascade of redundancies.
Many physiotherapists who lost their jobs in the aged care sector have struggled to find employment elsewhere, he added.
The event will be supported by a coalition of grassroots and community-based advocacy bodies, including national reform group Aged Care Reform Now and legal advocacy charity Aged Care Justice.
Senator Rice, Senator Louise Pratt, Senator Linda Reynolds, Senator Marielle Smith, and ACT Senator David Pocock, as well as professional groups and advocate groups, have been invited to the ceremony.
Although Ms Wells is unable to attend, her office gave permission to share her statement at the ceremony, stating that the Government recognises the crucial work of all aged care workers to maintain the health and wellbeing of older people receiving aged care.
The ceremony will be live streamed nationwide at 12 pm AEST on Thursday via Zoom.