Aged care newsletter

Posted on
November 2, 2020
Aged Care Sector

Your sector update.

Royal Commission – the first recommendations are in 

You may have heard that the Aged Care Royal Commission has made its biggest announcement since the interim report last year.

It’s good news, but there are few important considerations to remember before breaking out the champagne.

Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission have made 124 recommendations, some big and some small, about how to change 18 key parts of the aged care system.

There is a lot in these recommendations and some of them are long overdue, including:  

•  Mandated staffing levels! Or more specifically, mandated staffing by minutes of care for nursing and care roles.

•  The lifting of Award pay rates and funding to match it

•  A new Aged Care Act and a new regulator

•  More funding for training, development of workforce plans and requirement for carers to be registered by AHPRA

These are very important recommendations and they will have an unprecedented impact on the industry – if they are adopted. And here is where the rubber hits the road. These are recommendations made for the Royal Commissioners to endorse. Will they endorse all of them? Possibly. But two commissioners already seem to not be seeing eye to eye on the role of the new regulator.

After the Royal Commission finalises its recommendations to government, they then need to be endorsed by the government to become law. Scott Morrison has so far refused to be drawn on whether all recommendations will be accepted. Given how they have treated aged care in the past and dealt with other royal commissions, it’s very much possible they won’t be signing up for everything. So we need to keep the pressure up.

While not everything we would like to have seen has made it into the initial recommendations (with protections for secure work being very light on, for example) there has never been a better time to change aged care for the better, help us hold the government to account – visit today.


UminaPark update 

In our last newsletter, we mentioned the many problems at OneCare’s Burnie facility, Umina Park.

With workload and short staffing causing morale to hit an all-time low and increasing fears that resident care may be compromised, staff have said enough is enough!

This month, Umina Park workers have distributed flyers in the community, taken to social media, talked and been heard on radio and made headlines in newspapers –supported along the way by their local HACSU organisers.

The community have responded, showing support for the aged care workers by honking their horns while Umina Park workers stood outside the facility, contacting management and even writing letters to the Advocate. Even the local fire brigade came out and drove by repeatedly to sound their sirens in support.

Well done to all the workers at Umina Park for speaking up – not just for standing up for the staff and residents at their facility, but for highlighting the need for better staffing at ALL aged care facilities.


Shock news – Mary’s Grange to close 

Southern Cross Care have decided to close the Mary’s Grange facility in Taroona, leaving workers and the 70 residents shell shocked by the news.

Many have already expressed concerns as to where they will be working and what will happen to the residents. Southern Cross have verbally told us that employees and residents will be relocated to one of their other sites in Tasmania, but information is thin on the ground.

HACSU is working to find out more around the timeframe for the closure, but to date we have received nothing in writing.

We will continue to get the answers our members need and keep staff up to date.


SCCto take over Bupa South Hobart as Bupa exit Tasmania 

Bupa management have told us that Southern Cross Care will take full control of their South Hobart facility on Tuesday 1 December 2020, having said the following to staff:

•  All employees will be transitioned over by SCC, no employee will lose their job

•  All contracts of employment including guaranteed hours will be honoured.

•  The Bupa EBA (which was only negotiated recently) will be in place until expiry date.

•  All leave, including LSL, personal leave, annual leave will transfer across and timelines will be recognised for LSL accruals

•  No employee will have any less favourable conditions

It is good news that all employees have been guaranteed they won’t lose their jobs or contracted hours and that all their leave and entitlements will be honoured by SCC.

Because Bupa is a for-profit company, there was never the opportunity for employees to do salary packaging which is something that Southern Cross Care offer to their employees.


Bullying at work 

HACSU often hears from workers in aged care who feel they are being bullied in the workplace.

Running short-staffed with difficulties in filling shifts, tempers seem to be tense and as a result we sometimes do see an increase in bullying.

Just this week, we heard from a manager who had been given an anonymous letter, slipped under their door, alerting them of potential bullying. Unfortunately, because the letter wasn’t signed, it didn’t allow the manager to conduct a proper investigation. In order for due process to occur, thing like the day, shift and names of any other witnesses (and the person making the notification) need to be included.

Without the ability to verify the details and see if there’s substance to the allegation, the workplace isn’t able to open an investigation. Most organisations would be left with no option but to disregard the complaint.

If you’re worried about bullying, here’s a snapshot of what workplace bullying looks like.

Bullying is “repeated, unreasonable behaviours directed towards a worker or a group of workers.”

Bullying and harassment can be verbal, physical, written or electronic and can include:  

•  Insults and constant criticism that makes someone feel humiliated or intimidated

•  Deliberate and repeatedly being undermined

•  Cruel and malicious rumours, gossip and innuendo

•  Deliberate and repeatedly being ignored or excluded

•  Behaviours or language that frightens or degrades someone such as swearing, threats and yelling

An employer or manager is bullying a worker if they deliberately:  

•  Give work that’s unreasonably above or below the workers ability

•  Give meaningless work that’s unrelated to a worker’s job

•  Give inconvenient rosters or change hours on a whim or to inconvenience a worker

•  Deny information or resources a worker needs to do their job

•  Scrutinise work excessively and unreasonably

If you believe you’re experiencing bullying at work, your first point of call is to ring HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email One of our organising team will be able to help set you on the best course of action to get the matter resolved.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form

Aged Care Sector