At its meeting on the weekend, the national Assembly of the Uniting Church has strongly supported a wage rise for aged care workers, as recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care.
“Justice is at the heart of the Christian gospel,” said Assembly President, the Rev Sharon Hollis.
“Aged care workers are at the frontline supporting older Australians every day. They deserve to be paid fairly, reflecting the importance of their work.”
Uniting Church community services are one of the largest single providers of aged care in Australia, offering care to over 100,000 people.
The Rev Hollis was supported by the Church’s National Director of UnitingCare Australia, Claerwen Little.
“In our recent election campaign launch, UnitingCare Australia costed the pay increase to be approximately $4b per annum. This is an essential investment to improve the quality of care being provided both in residential and home care,” Ms Little said.
“The pay rise is also essential to address the gender pay gap because around 86 per cent of aged care workers are women. Wages would not be this low if the numbers were reversed and 86 per cent of aged care workers were men.
“There is still time in the election campaign for all parties to commit to this essential reform,” said Ms Little.
The national Assembly, which meets only once every three years, supported a range of measures in ageing and aged care.
“The Church is seeking wider recognition for the human rights of older people, as well proper recognition in the life of the Church itself,” said Rev Hollis.
“There is no place for ageism in the Church or the wider society.”
The Assembly also agreed to establish a day in the Church’s calendar, Older Person’s Sunday, to recognise the contribution of older people; and to support a national network for older people in the Church, called Uniting Friends of Ageing.