Union calls for Medicare levy hike to fund better aged care – “We knew our aged care homes were running on the smell of an oily rag well before COVID”

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Raising the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.65% would help Australia fix its broken aged care system, according to the Health Services Union’s (HSU) final submission to the Royal Commission.

The report Delivering Decent Residential Aged Care, co-authored by consultancy firm Equity Economics, says an additional spend ranging from $2bn to $27bn over four years is required to continue to deliver high quality care.

HSU says boosting workforce salaries to attract higher quality staff, increase retention rates and reduce the level of churn in the sector is key.

The union, which is the peak body representing aged care workers in Australia says only 42.5 per cent of homes would meet the satisfactory level of three stars under the United States system.

“We knew our aged care homes were running on the smell of an oily rag well before COVID,” HSU national president Gerard Hayes told The Australian.

“For too long the system has relied on the goodwill of a highly casualised and underpaid female workforce that often retired into poverty.”

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