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Nurses, carers and health care professionals cry-out over fears of future penalty cuts

With the new Financial Year comes outrage and new fears of penalty cuts in the health and aged care sector from the country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), following the Governments decision to not only cut Sunday penalty rates in a number of sectors, but to also provide a pay rise to politicians.

Many nurses, midwives and AIN's rely on penalty rates (Source: Shutterstock)
Many nurses, midwives and AIN's rely on penalty rates (Source: Shutterstock)

From July 1, MP’s and Senators will pocket an extra 2 percent in their pay packets, as well as securing marginal tax rates, which have been lowered to 47 percent, while workers across three different sectors will have important Sunday penalty rates cut.

The ANMF’s Acting Federal Secretary Annie Butler says it is unconscionable that politicians are being handed pay rises and tax cuts at a time when ordinary Australian workers are struggling with ever-increasing living costs, especially those workers on the minimum wage who, by comparison, are receiving an increase of just $22.20 a week.

“It’s certainly a great start to the new financial year for politicians, heading off on their winter parliamentary break with an average of an extra $4,000 in their pockets,” Ms Butler says.

“But not so for ordinary Australian workers.

“It’s simply not fair that politicians are being rewarded with pay rises and tax cuts while workers in retail, hospitality and fast-food sectors will have their Sunday penalty rates cut.

“And it’s just cruel to have politicians’ pay rises and workers’ pay cuts start on the same weekend.

“Our members, particularly those working in the lowly-paid aged care sector, find this pretty hard to stomach. And we’re sure most workers would feel the same.”

In addition to penalty rate cuts to low-income workers, the ANMF is also against the rise in HECS fees.

“As a result of HECS fees rising, nursing students will pay thousands more for their university degrees; aged care nurses still work with no mandated staffing ratios; and Assistants In Nursing (AINs) are overworked and underpaid, thanks to the Government’s failure to restore any of the $1.2 billion in Budget cuts,” Ms Butler says.

“The ANMF will continue to fight hard to ensure that these devastating cuts to penalty rates aren’t extended into health and aged care – many nurses, midwives and AINs rely on penalty rates for 20 percent of their income.”

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