NSW Labor has called for the Berejiklian Government to work urgently with the Morrison Government and implement strong measures to protect 61,000 aged care residents and essential staff.
It comes as the number of cases in NSW aged care facilities continues to growand revelations that support for residents and staff has been lacking at facilities impacted by COVID-19.
Analysis of national cases shows that NSW has recorded 53 of Australia’s 55 COVID-19 cases in residential care. Tragically, 11 of the 12 aged care fatalities have been in NSW.
There are over 860 aged care facilities in NSW. As aged care clusters emerge, there are critical staff shortages putting lives at risk. Aged care residents and staff need more support.
Labor has called for urgent action from the Government to work directly with the Commonwealth to ensure stronger protocols and prevent future tragedies through:
- Priority testing in aged care facilities: including through COVID-19 screening and temperature checks for all staff;
- Increased personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Guaranteed paid special leave for aged care workers: remove any barriers to testing for people in casual or insecure work, including guaranteed paid special leave for those who test positive.
Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Penny Sharpe said “We need to act urgently to protect our vulnerable aged residents and those valuable staff who care for them.
“Over 96% of residential aged care cases have been in NSW, the Government needs to act urgently.
“We need to learn from the tragic cases at the Dorothy Henderson, Opal and Newmarch facilities."
NSW has more than 61,000 aged care residents across 860 residential facilities.
Shadow Minister for Seniors Jo Haylen added “No effort can be spared to protect seniors and aged care workers.
“We need to prevent future outbreaks, our 61,000 aged care residents deserve nothing less.
“We all know someone in aged care, they are our parents and neighbours, our veterans and mentors. The Government needs to do whatever it can to prevent future outbreaks and save lives.”