Greens leader Adam Bandt calls for $3bn aged care funding investment plus investigate privatisation

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Greens leader Adam Bandt is calling for a $3 billion federal funding boost in aged care to improve medical support to older Australians.

Mr Bandt will also urge the Morrison Government to expand the Royal Commission so it can investigate the impact of privatisation, saying care should not be a for-profit industry with too many companies “profiting from the misery” of their residents, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Shaping the political conversation

The Greens policy aims to shape the political conversation around spending to confront the COVID-19 pandemic as Prime Minister Scott Morrison hints at new measures for the sector in the October Budget

With many aged care centres at breaking point from COVID outbreaks, Mr Morrison is promising a new code to be agreed with state and territory leaders over the next two weeks to ensure a rapid response to further infections.

The “codified national preparedness plan” is meant to act on the learnings from Victorian outbreaks.

It is also meant to ensure state and territory governments act quickly to suspend elective surgery and free up healthcare workers if they are needed to replace infected workers in aged care homes.

Mr Bandt and Greens aged care spokeswoman Rachel Siewert want Mr Morrison to amend the terms of reference for the Royal Commission so it can consider the impact of privatisation.

Mr Bandt said it was time to rethink the privatisation because it led to the use of more casual workers and “substandard service” for the elderly.

“The aged care industry made $1.7 billion last year while some residents are fed on just $6 a day,” Mr Bandt said.

Staff ratios

“We need $3 billion in funding and staff to resident ratios to ensure that residents are looked after.”

Senator Siewert said it should be an “immediate” $3 billion investment to ensure there were enough nurses and other staff for elderly Australians.

The Greens want an increase in staff ratios to ensure at least one registered nurse is rostered on at all times in every facility.

Health Minister Greg Hunt and Victorian counterpart Jenny Mikakos announced more financial support for the sector on July 19, including payments of $1500 to Victorian aged care workers who could not work because they had to go into quarantine.

Mr Morrison has signalled more spending before the Royal Commission hands down its final report in November.