Protesters hit MP’s office to demand action on aged care
Protesters will rally outside the Dawson MP's office to demand at least one registered nurse be present at all times at all private aged care facilities.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union secretary Beth Mohle said George Christensen's office was one of seven between Cairns and Brisbane being targeted as part of the union's Aged Care Day of Action on Monday.
The rally comes as the final report into a 28-month Royal Commission into Aged Care was handed down to the Prime Minister on Friday.
The findings have not yet been released to the public.
"The QNMU and all Australians await Prime Minister Scott Morrison's response to the crisis in Australian private aged care,'' Ms Mohle said.
"While we wait, elderly Australians continue to suffer as a result of chronic and systemic understaffing in private aged care facilities. All federal politicians should be held to account for their positions on the protection of vulnerable elderly Australians.'
"We will not let yet another review into aged care be put on the shelf to gather dust - we want a commitment to action now."
Ms Mohle said the union was calling for laws to be strengthened so at least one registered nurse had to be on site at all times.
"Unlike (at) childcare or hospitals, there are no federal laws that state how private aged care facilities should be staffed," she said.
"As a result, thousands of elderly Australians continue to suffer due to chronic understaffing.''
QNMU organiser Auriel Robinson said Mr Christensen had been "disturbingly silent" on aged care issues in an electorate with more than 31,000 constituents aged 60 and over.
"Mr Christensen has also not signed the QNMU's pledge to make safe staffing law in aged care," Ms Robinson said.
"He has also not turned up to discuss our concerns.
"The Royal Commission have handed over their recommendations - our politicians must act now to protect the tens of thousands of elderly Australians in their care.''
The QNMU stated Australia had about 900 private aged care providers which received more than $66 billion in taxpayer money over the past size years.
"They do not have to publicly report how any of the funds are spent," it stated.
"Queensland's largest private aged care providers including BlueCare, TriCare and Bolton Clarke actually cut staff numbers or hours during COVID-19.
"The QNMU reported these matters, and many others, to the federal government but it's not believed any action has been taken.
"The QNMU and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation is calling for the introduction of mandated minimum staffing levels and required mix of skills and qualifications in every residential facility, over every shift."
Protesters will gather outside Mr Christensen's office on Milton St at 11am.
All private aged care facilities in Mackay are accredited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.