Fighting for aged care workers

Ms WELLS (Lilley) (15:58): Aged-care workers are doing their very best, and their unions are fighting for them, but they are exhausted and they are burnt out. There is no adequate staffing safety net. Providers across the country are estimating that 140,000 shifts are now unfilled each week. That's almost a quarter of aged-care worker shifts. I know that we hear about the surge force, and it is a good measure that has been put in, but it is covering less than one per cent of the shifts that are currently short-staffed.

I remember, when the royal commission report came in last year, being absolutely shocked by the statistic—which I have just called up again—that we need 17,000 more direct workers each year in aged care over the next 10 years and altogether we need 400,000 additional workers in aged care by 2050. We need 400,000 additional workers in this besieged sector by 2050, when we currently have 140,000 shifts a week going unfilled in 2022. It needs focus. It needs funding. It needs priority. It needs commitment. It needs a whole lot more than it's getting right now.

I spoke earlier in the day about several stories from my constituency of various families who are struggling in the current situation. Let's talk about what they want us to do. We've got nine sitting days left in the 46th Parliament. What do they want us to do? They want us to stop kicking the can down the road. They want us to treat all recommendations in the royal commission report with the respect, the funding and the priority that they deserve. They want minimum staff ratios. They want direct employment of staff, with enforceable labour standards, training and professional development.