Wealthy nurses’ union launches pre-Budget media campaign – but Govt unlikely to fund staff ratios

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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has renewed its push for 24/7 mandated staffing ratios in residential care with a series of radio spots, TV commercials and a website petition – but is the Federal Government willing to find the cash?

Titled ‘It’s Not Too Much’, the campaign features a series of radio and TV commercials and website, asking Australians to help influence the Morrison Government to legislate staff ratios.

The ANMF has also hired mobile billboards to circulate across the electorates of five key politicians: Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

Cash to lobby

The union has the money to bankroll the campaign.

The ANMF now has over 300,000 fee-paying members across their State and Territory branches.

A quick search shows annual fees for their Victorian branch range from around $644 for a Registered Nurse working twenty four hours or more in the industry to about $480 for enrolled nurses, AINs and home care workers working the same hours.

The NSW branch charges around $780 a year for a Registered Nurse to join.

This adds up to over one hundred million dollars in funding for the ANMF’s lobbying activities.

You can check out the website for this latest campaign here.

The petition asks supporters to donate their ‘time’ – two minutes to share the campaign on social media (see tweet inset); five minutes to send a message to the politicians; and seven minutes to do both.

At last count, the site has already logged over 18,000 donated ‘minutes’.

What they want

The union has identified five key priorities for Government action:

  • Mandate staffing ratios in aged care homes;
  • Legislated requirements for clinical governance, leadership and expertise in aged care;
  • Legislated transparency and accountability for taxpayer funding for aged care providers;
  • Guaranteeing workforce capacity and capability;
  • Registration for unregulated aged care workers.

Acting ANMF Federal Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp, said: “Every day the Morrison Government delays taking action to address chronic understaffing in nursing homes, is another day that residents will continue to suffer. And another day that staff, (majority of whom are women) continue to be overworked and undervalued. We must address this crisis immediately and mandate safe staffing ratios.”

What will they get?

Will the Government front up the funding however?

As we reported last week, delivering a 25% wage increase to personal care workers will cost an estimated $1.5 billion a year.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler gave evidence to the Royal Commission in February 2019 that implementing its staffing mix model would cost $5.3 billion a year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Royal Commission didn’t take up the ANMF’s proposal – instead recommending mandated minimum staff time and 24/7 Registered Nurses in its Final Report.

The likelihood of success appears slim.


About Author

Lauren is the Editor at DCM Group and has guided its range of media including The Weekly SOURCE, The Daily RESOURCE and The Donaldson Sisters since 2016. With 13 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and commentator, Lauren is the only journalist to have attended every session of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, producing 300 issues of the subscriber-only The Daily COMMISSION which offers exclusive insights and analysis of the issues surrounding the Royal Commission and the aged care sector.