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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has expressed its disappointment at the lack of funding into nursing and midwifery, and into aged care in last night’s Federal Budget.

ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler said the Treasurer had stated nurses and midwives should be rewarded for their efforts, however she said this was not reflected in the Budget.

“It’s a wonderful gesture for the Treasurer to thank Australia’s healthcare workers, on behalf of a grateful nation and the government, but despite nurses, midwives and personal care workers producing extraordinary efforts to protect and defend Australians’ health during the pandemic, especially in aged care, this Budget offers them little reward.”

The ANMF has also questioned the government’s claim of ‘record funding for aged care’, given it is deferring action in chronically-understaffed nursing homes, until the completion of the Royal Commission in early 2021.

“There is little investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce and even less for our aged care workers. Instead, the government is deferring action in aged care yet again, by waiting for the release of the Royal Commission’s final report in February.

“It’s disappointing that there’s no action on job security and no action of improving wages and conditions for aged care workers. So, despite the much-vaunted promises of meaningful measures for working women, this Budget fails to deliver – the promised ‘thanks’ is just more words, not real action.

“If jobs are the cornerstone of the national economic recovery-plan, the ANMF is calling on the government to act now and address the dangerously inadequate levels of qualified nurses and care staff working in aged care.”

Yet, Ms Butler said there were some positive announcements made in last night’s Budget. She said the ANMF welcomed funding for mental health services, the NDIS and PBS listings for drugs to treat a range of diseases, including ovarian cancer, leukaemia, melanoma and Parkinson’s disease.