Make housing affordable: Greens back calls for switch from stamp duty to land tax

Greens NSW Housing spokesperson Jan Barham MLC has welcomed the call by peak bodies from civil society and the business sector to phase out stamp duty and replace it with a broad-based land tax.

“I moved for our 2014 Parliamentary inquiry to recommend a transition from stamp duty to a broader land tax based on the clear evidence that it would improve the opportunity for people to find and afford a home. The Government and Labor wouldn’t support even considering a transition from stamp duty to land tax,” Ms Barham said.

“The new analysis released by NCOSS and the NSW Business Chamber provides more compelling evidence about the benefits for housing affordability and the broader economy.

“It’s time for the Government and Opposition to get over their reluctance to mention tax reform and support a move to tax land value instead of charging stamp duty on transactions.

“Stamp duty adds tens of thousands of dollars to the purchase cost of an average home in New South Wales, creating a barrier for new buyers and a disincentive for people to move despite changes in their housing needs. A broad annual land tax in its place would improve affordability for would-be home owners and promote better use of our existing housing stock and available land.”

Ms Barham said that given the extent of the housing affordability crisis across Sydney and many parts of New South Wales, all levels of government needed to look at using every mechanism available to improve the opportunity for people to find a home.

“Housing policy has been captured by the interests of developers and investors, instead of ensuring people have access to secure, appropriate and affordable homes.

“The Greens have shown that federal governments can improve housing affordability by reforming negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount. At the state level, the Government needs to wean itself off the stamp duty windfalls caused by the housing boom and act in the best interests of households by moving to land tax instead.

“These tax reforms need to be backed up with public and private investment to deliver affordable housing, and with planning reforms to ensure that all new developments provide a fair share of rental accommodation for essential workers and others on low incomes.

“It’s time for all governments and political parties to promote the wellbeing of our communities by ensuring people have the opportunity for a home that suits their needs.

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Background

Royal Commission into violence against people with a disability to be raised at COAG

“I congratulate the NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services John Ajaka on his commitment to raise the call for a Royal Commission into violence, neglect and abuse against people with a disability at the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments”, said Ms Jan Barham, Greens NSW spokesperson for Ageing and Disability.

 

This week, in response to Ms Barham’s question as to whether Minister Ajaka would commit to propose or support through the COAG Disability Reform Council a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability, the Minister stated that he would ‘raise this question by Ms Jan Barham at the next COAG meeting because this question deserves the respect of all Ministers responsible.”

 

“I am pleased the Minister will be taking this important issue to the next meeting of COAG.”

 

“This week, we heard a report that an estimated 90 per cent of women with an intellectual disability have been the victim of sexual assault. This is a shocking figure and underscores the need for a full investigation into the prevalence of abuse committed against people with a disability in Australia”.

 

Late last year the Australian Senate Inquiry into abuse against people with a disability in institutional settings chaired by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert recommended that there must be a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with a disability.

 

“All people with a disability have a right to be safe from harm, whether they live in the community or an institutional setting. A Royal Commission would shine a light on abuses committed against people with disability and help address this shocking problem.”

 

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Jan’s question without notice to the Minister and the Minister’s response: http://bit.ly/1ZuYbZe

Senate Inquiry into violence, neglect and abuse against people with a disability in institutional settings: http://bit.ly/1MBKr9Q

‘Australia’s most shocking statistic: Sexual abuse and domestic violence against women with disabilities’ Ginger Gorman – news.com.au: http://bit.ly/1LA2ws5

National Close the Gap Day

“Today marks ten years since the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee was formed to address the unacceptable gap in health and life expectancy outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people in Australia”, said Ms Jan Barham, Greens NSW spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs.

“The Close the Gap Campaign aims to close the life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2030. However, there remains much to do, with the latest Close the Gap Report showing that life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is still around ten years less than that of non-Indigenous people.”

“The latest report shows that Close the Gap indicators must be broadened to include incarceration rates to ensure that a more holistic approach is taken to achieve equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“The Parliament recently supported my motion calling on the Premier to implement a NSW Close the Gap Strategy for New South Wales to collect meaningful data on incarceration rates, community safety, child removal and disability-related issues. It’s critical that this Strategy is localised so that Indigenous disadvantage can be addressed in all regions and communities across the State, and inform government programs and funding.”

The 2016 Report made clear that Australia must renew efforts to Close the Gap, stating:

“We can and want to be the generation that closes the gap but we must stay the course and keep our attention and resources focused on this goal. The health gap has rightfully been described as a stain on our nation, and this generation has the opportunity and responsibility to remove it.”[1]

More than 1,500 events have been registered to mark National Close the Gap Day today, and 220,000 people have called on governments to take action to achieve health and life expectancy equality for Indigenous people by 2030.

“I congratulate the Close the Gap Steering Committee, its members, supporters of the campaign as well as all organisations that are working with Indigenous communities to eliminate health and life expectancy inequality by 2030.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Jan’s motion calling for a NSW Close the Gap Strategy: http://bit.ly/1nPD6ej

The Close the Gap Steering Committee Progress and Priorities report 2016: http://bit.ly/1Q7MozF

[1] The Close the Gap Steering Committee Progress and Priorities report 2016: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-social-justice/publications/close-gap-progress p.2

Greens call for investigation of Gold Coast Airport PFOS/PFOA soil contamination

Lindy Smith, Dawn Walker, Jan Barham MLC, Cr Gary Bagnall and Mayor Katie Milne visit the Crown Reserve affected by Gold Coast airport expansion

North Coast Greens MP Jan Barham and Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi have called on the NSW Government to investigate and provide information about the soil contamination involving potentially carcinogenic chemicals at Gold Coast Airport.

Greens Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC said: “This contamination involves the same perfluorocarbon chemicals that affected surface and ground water at the Williamtown RAAF base in the Hunter, affecting fisheries and prompting health warnings and multiple investigations.

“I wrote to the Environment Minister back in October last year seeking information as to whether what happened at Williamtown could happen anywhere else in the State and did not receive a reply. People shouldn’t have to find out about major contaminations by accident.

“I’ve lodged questions on notice in Parliament asking the Environment Minister whether the NSW Government had been informed about this contamination and seeking an investigation of the extent of the contamination and the risks it might pose to the surrounding region.

“The Cobaki Broadwater and its biodiversity deserve protection under the Ramsar Convention so it’s crucial for the Minister to ensure there is no risk to the wetland and the Tweed region.”

Greens North Coast spokesperson Jan Barham MLC said: “The presence of these toxic and persistent chemicals at Gold Coast Airport is a cause for concern in the Tweed region, and the NSW Government needs to provide information to the community.

“I’m troubled that this information has only come to light after the airport’s proposed Instrument Landing System (ILS) was approved and the final Major Development Plan was released.

“The draft plan that was released for public comments last year didn’t mention these chemicals, despite the fact that their use in firefighting was discontinued around 2010.

“In question time today I’ll call on the Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water to act to halt the installation of the ILS on NSW Crown Land until a full Environmental Impact Assessment and investigation of the potential impacts have been undertaken.

“The NSW Government has to respond urgently to address the concerns of the Tweed community.”

Contacts for further comment:
– Matt Hilton for Mehreen Faruqi 9230 2625 / 0423 106 247
– Jan Barham 0447 853 891

BACKGROUND:
Questions on notice to Environment Minister
Watch question time 2:30pm-3:30pm today

Tragic death highlights need for 24/7 registered nursing in nursing homes

Traffic warning sign - frail or older people

A Victorian Coroner has found that a 76 year-old woman should have been sent straight to hospital after a fall in a nursing home. The home had no registered nurse on duty at the time and the Coroner described the initial assessments she received by enrolled nurses as “inadequate” and “deficient”.

 

Mrs Ena Vickers suffered a fall at midday on Monday 30 July 2012 and was not seen by a registered nurse until some four hours later. She was then transferred to hospital, where it was found she had suffered fractures and bleeding around her brain. Mrs Vickers died on 4 August 2012.

 

“This is a tragic case that sadly shows what can happen when there is no registered nurse on duty at all times”, said Ms Jan Barham, NSW Greens spokesperson on Ageing.

 

“Although an immediate assessment by a registered nurse and transfer to hospital may not have changed the outcome, it may have reduced any suffering experienced by Mrs Vickers after the fall.”

 

“Because there was no registered nurse on duty at the time of her fall, Mrs Vickers was attended to by personal care assistants and enrolled nurses. I don’t want to downplay the skills of these employees, but the Coroner found that Mrs Vickers should have been examined by a registered nurse or medical practitioner straight after her fall because of the seriousness of the situation.”

 

“Last year I chaired an inquiry into registered nurses in NSW nursing homes, which found that a registered nurse should be on duty at all times so that they can respond to incidents like this one.”

 

“I understand that Mrs Vickers had high-care needs and a history of Parkinson’s and dementia. Our inquiry found that registered nurses are critical in the care of such residents because they can exercise their professional judgement about their clinical care needs.”

 

The NSW Government is currently reviewing its state regulation for nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty at all times. There is no similar Commonwealth requirement, despite it being the primary regulator of aged care.

 

“I call on the NSW Government to adopt the recommendation made by the NSW Inquiry to have a registered nurse on duty at all times in nursing homes where people have high care needs.”

 

“I also extend my condolences to the family of Mrs Vickers.”

 

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

 

Victorian Coroner’s findings into the death of Mrs Ena Edith Vickers: http://bit.ly/1TcuRH5

NSW Inquiry into Registered nurses in New South Wales nursing homes:
http://bit.ly/1WY8LpS

NSW Upper House calls on Government to pursue a 1.5 degree limit on global warming

Climate Action Now banner

Greens MP Jan Barham has welcomed the Legislative Council’s support for a motion calling for legislation and action to ensure the state contributes to pursuing the aims of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The Paris Agreement calls for international action to keep global warming well below 2 degrees and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. I congratulate the Government and all other parties for supporting the Greens’ motion, and it’s now essential that the state locks in action to lead the way to achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement,” Ms Barham said.

“The Greens have a Climate Change Bill before the Parliament right now which would commit all NSW Governments, now and into the future, to put us on a trajectory to net zero emissions by 2040, consider the climate impacts in decisions across the whole of government, and provide for judicial review of any actions that would undermine climate action.

“The past two years have each been the hottest on record. The momentum for climate action is building, from the international agreement reached by 195 nations in Paris and in the local households and organisations supporting fossil fuel divestment and the uptake of clean energy.

“It’s time for the NSW Government to support the community and businesses who are working to play their part in limiting global warming, and to lock in the policies that will put the whole of our society on track to address climate change.”

Ms Barham’s motion noted not only the international agreement that was reached in Paris but the many commitments and actions made by sub-national governments, cities and corporations to support the aims of the Paris Agreement.

“States and territories around the world are crucial to delivering the action on climate change that is required to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius,” Ms Barham said.

“Already in 2016, Wales has passed legislation that commits to long-term emissions targets and putting sustainability front and centre in all government decision-making, and Victoria’s independent review of its climate legislation has made strong recommendations for emissions reduction targets and a Climate Charter.

“New South Wales can deliver strong climate action and the passage of this motion puts the onus on the Government to ensure that we do,” Ms Barham concluded

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

The Greens NSW Climate Change Bill

Motion by Jan Barham MLC as passed by the NSW Legislative Council, 25 February 2016

1. That this House notes that:
(a) on 12 December 2015, an agreement was adopted by consensus of the 195 nations, including Australia, who participated in the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Framework Convention on Climate Change,
(b) the Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to climate change by:
(i) holding the increase in global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,
(ii) increasing capacity for climate change adaptation and fostering climate resilience and low-emissions development, and
(iii) making finance flows consistent with the pathway toward low-emissions and climate-resilient development, and
(c) the Agreement will open for signature with a signing ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 22 April 2016 and will take effect when at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the Agreement.

2. That this House notes that in addition to the agreement by nation states, the Paris Conference saw significant involvement from regional governments, cities and business organisations, including:
(a) the release of the first Disclosure Report of the Compact of States and Regions, which brings together 44 sub-national governments, including the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia, who have committed to set emissions reduction targets and report their annual performance,
(b) the addition of 43 new signatories to the Under 2 MOU, an agreement of sub-national governments to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, bringing the total number of signatories to 123 jurisdictions, and
(c) the announcement that 53 major global corporations, including BMW, Google and Coca-Cola, have joined the RE100 initiative and made commitments to source 100% of their electricity from renewable energy.

3. That this House notes that since the signing of the Paris Agreement there have been further commitments and actions from governments, businesses and individuals, including:
(a) the signing of the Paris Pledge for Action, a statement of support for the Paris Agreement and commitment to work to ensure the Agreement’s aims are met or exceeded, by more than 400 businesses, 120 investors, and 150 cities and regions representing 700 million people and $US11 trillion,
(b) the addition of four more signatories to the Under 2 MOU, including the US state of Massachusetts, the Colombian regional governments of Guainia and Guaviare, and Lower Austria, and
(c) the Welsh National Assembly’s passage on 2 February 2016 of the Environment (Wales) Bill, which sets long-term and interim targets for significant emissions reductions and provides that sustainable management of natural resources must be a core consideration in decision-making, and
(d) the completion of the Independent Review of the Climate Change Act 2010 in Victoria, which:
(i) took into consideration the Paris Agreement, the Victorian Government’s commitment to restore Victoria as a climate change leader and the increasing importance of sub-national governments and non-state actors in taking climate action, and
(ii) delivered 33 recommendations including setting a long-term emissions reduction target and enabling interim targets at five-yearly intervals, introducing a Charter of Climate Change Objectives and Principles that must be taken into account by the Government when preparing climate change strategies and in all plans, policies, programs and operational decisions across government, and providing broad standing for judicial review of administrative decisions that may have climate change impacts or risks.

4. That this House calls on the New South Wales Government to take action to support the aims of the Paris Agreement, including by implementing legislation and policies that will place New South Wales on a pathway to leadership in pursuing the aims of the Paris Agreement.

Heritage listing for Sirius an opportunity for a social housing win-win

Sirius Apartment Building image by Marek Lambert (Allshots Imaging)

Sirius Apartments 3/4 View by Marek Walter (Allshots Imaging)

Greens MP and Housing spokesperson Jan Barham MLC has welcomed the Heritage Council’s recommendation that the Sirius Apartment Building in The Rocks be listed on the State Heritage Register and is calling on the Government to act urgently to deliver certainty about its future.

“As soon as Parliament resumes, I will introduce a motion calling on the Government to act on the Heritage Council’s recommendation and list Sirius on the State Heritage Register,” Ms Barham said.

“I will also call on the Government to provide for people’s wellbeing by allowing Millers Point residents to relocate into this purpose-built social housing.

“The Government has the opportunity to deliver a win-win for social housing: older and vulnerable Millers Point tenants will have the opportunity to remain connected to their community, and quality inner-city public housing is maintained.”

Ms Barham noted that the NSW Legislative Council had supported a motion in June 2015 acknowledging the significance of the Sirius Building and calling for its protection, along with the expansion of the Sirius model for social housing.

“The Heritage Council’s acknowledgement that Sirius is of state significance and should be protected is something the Minister for Heritage should act on immediately, given that the Government has already supported a resolution recognising the need for protection.

“The Government should never have included Sirius in the planned sell-off of public housing. Unlike the Millers Point housing with its maintenance and access issues, Sirius is less than 35 years old and was designed and built for use as public housing.

“The Social Housing Minister should take this opportunity to ensure this significant part of Sydney’s heritage continues to be used to provide housing for those who need it,” Ms Barham concluded.

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Background

Postcard featuring photo of Sirius

Postcard produced for ‘Getting Serious About Sirius’ November 2014 forum hosted by Jan Barham MLC and Sophie Cotsis MLC – 1979 photo supplied with the permission of FACS NSW.

71,000 affordable homes needed in regional NSW

Greens spokesperson on Affordable Housing Jan Barham has called on the NSW Government to address the shortfall of 71,000 affordable homes in regional NSW.

“Unaffordable housing is not just a Sydney issue. Right now, there are thousands of households across regional NSW that are struggling to pay the rent”, said Ms Barham.

“Latest data shows that 71,000 low-income renter households in regional NSW are in housing stress. They are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on household costs, which, for many, means foregoing other essential goods and services to keep a roof over their head.”

“NSW is experiencing gentrification of not only city-based suburbs but also in some coastal regional areas, which are suffering from affordable housing crisis due to the popularity of locations.”

“As at December 2014, only 23,964 dwellings were considered affordable for a low-income household in regional NSW. In Coffs Harbour, 10.6% of rentals were affordable for a very-low income household and in Byron that figure was 3.7%[1].”

“This data is consistent with Anglicare Australia’s mapping of rental affordability in regional areas. Its latest report showed that while there is greater availability of affordable rentals for people earning the minimum wage, most households on income support payments cannot afford rent in the regions[i].”

Ms Barham said that the lack of affordable housing in the regions means that people are resorting to living in overcrowded housing, caravans and their cars because they cannot find an affordable home.

“It’s unacceptable that in NSW we have people living in caravans and cars because of the huge shortage of social and affordable housing. These circumstances impact on people’s wellbeing as housing stress equates to emotional stress. More must be done with planning rules to support those who are vulnerable in this current housing crisis.”

“The data shows that while the NSW Government’s announcement of 6,500 additional social and affordable dwellings is a good first step, it barely scratches the surface of what’s needed to address the affordable housing crisis across the state.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

 

  1. Number of NSW renting households in housing stress outside of Sydney

Table 1 

This graph shows that in the 2011 Census, 45,217 very-low income households (those earning less than 50% of the median income for the area) pay more than 30% of their income in rent and associated household costs. Very-low income households generally receive a pension or other income support payment. The graph also shows there were 26,456 low-income households in housing stress. Low income households earn more than 50% but less than 80% of the median income for the area. These totals exclude the Sydney area.

  1. Percentage of housing stress in selected NSW regions

Table 2 

Almost all very-low income households in NSW areas outside of Sydney are in housing stress, with 87% paying more than 30% of their income on household costs. Low-income households fare better, but the majority (54%) are considered to be in housing stress.

  1. Percentage of affordable rental stock for people on very low and low incomes, selected NSW regions

Table 3

There is some variation in the selected NSW regions in affordability of rental stock, with North Coast regions showing limited availability, particularly for very-low income households. The selected inland areas showed higher rates for both very-low and low income households, but affordable stock still fell short of demand.

  1. Numbers of very-low and low-income households in housing stress and the number of affordable rental housing stock, selected regions, December 2014

Untitled

This graph illustrates the shortfall of affordable rental housing in the selected regions to meet demand. The number of very-low and low-income households exceeds the number of affordable rental stock as at June 2011. While this data is slightly outdated, the number of affordable rental housing stock for low-income households as at December 2014 has declined in all the selected regions except for Orange, Dubbo and Albury, which saw slight increases.

 

Data collated using the Housing Kit Data Base, http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/centre-for-affordable-housing/nsw-local-government-housing-kit/local-government-housing-kit-database/2011-census-database

[1]Households described as being ‘very low income’ are those earning less than 50 percent of the NSW or Sydney median income, depending on where they live.

Households earning more than 50 percent but less than 80 percent of the NSW or Sydney median income are described as earning a ‘low income’ (http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/centre-for-affordable-housing/about-affordable-housing/who-are-very-low-to-moderate-income-earners)

[i] Anglicare Australia (2015) ‘Rental Affordability Snapshot’ http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/rental-affordability-snapshot-2015.pdf p.5

Greens call for NSW Close the Gap Targets

Aboriginal Land Rights rally in Hyde Park

“I’m calling on the Premier to establish clear NSW targets and report across all key areas of inequality so that his Government and future governments can be held accountable,” said Jan Barham, NSW Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs.

“Working with Aboriginal communities to ensure they have the services and opportunities required to address inequality in health and wellbeing is a responsibility of every Government, particularly in light of historical wrongdoings.

“Today’s release of the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap report shows the lack of national progress on addressing the disparity in life expectancy and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Ms Barham noted that there are significant areas of inequality and disadvantage that aren’t addressed by the national targets.

The Close the Gap Steering Committee’s report on Progress and Priorities 2016 recommends targets to address imprisonment rates and community safety, as well as the exacerbated disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal people with disability, education and employment.

“New South Wales should establish targets to address the full range of causes and indicators of Aboriginal disadvantage and inequality, including incarceration rates, rates of child abuse, neglect and removal, disability, mental health and suicide.

Ms Barham noted that the NSW Government had introduced some welcome initiatives in Aboriginal Affairs but that greater engagement with Aboriginal communities and self-determination in addressing needs was required.

“I’ve worked with this Government to support a range of initiatives that aim to provide opportunity and self-determination to Aboriginal communities, including through the new OCHRE strategy and ensuring Aboriginal land rights are respected and delivered.

“All politicians and parties must support giving priority to working with Aboriginal communities to address the ongoing inequality and lack of opportunity they experience, and I call on the Premier to make it a priority to close all of the gaps in New South Wales,” Ms Barham concluded.

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Background

Commonwealth must follow NSW’s lead on registered nurse staffing in nursing homes

NSW Greens spokesperson on Ageing Jan Barham has called on the public to support a Commonwealth Senate inquiry into the aged care workforce.

“Last year I chaired a NSW Upper House Inquiry into registered nurses in nursing homes, which received unanimous support for regulation requiring nursing homes to have at least one registered nurse on duty at all times” said Ms Barham.

“Now the Commonwealth Senate is inquiring into the aged care workforce, led by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.[i] I encourage the Senate Committee to review staffing standards in nursing homes, which our inquiry found were inadequate to ensure elderly, frail nursing home residents had access to registered nurse care around the clock.”[ii]

“The NSW Inquiry received overwhelming evidence from experts in the field including the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, Council on the Ageing and Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association that nursing homes need a registered nurse on duty at all times to ensure that residents receive high quality care.”

Ms Barham expressed concern about the lack of robust Commonwealth regulation governing staffing in an industry that is making record profits.

“Reports of some nursing homes recording a 40% surge in profits while face-to-face care hours dropped by 7% are cause for alarm. In 2014, research showed that residents received an average of just 5.2 hours of care from a registered nurse per fortnight.”[iii]

“We know that many nursing homes have replaced registered nurses with lower-skilled Assistants in Nursing and care workers even though resident care need is the highest it has ever been. This is placing residents at risk in cases where an emergency arises or the particular needs of high care residents are reliant on registered nurse care and supervision.”

Ms Barham said that while the NSW Inquiry found that nursing homes caring for high needs residents must have a registered nurse on duty at all times, exemptions could apply to small remote and rural nursing homes where it’s difficult to attract registered nurses.

“Some nursing home operators in remote and rural areas told our inquiry that it would be difficult to comply with a 24/7 registered nurse requirement. That’s why we recommended there be an exemption clause, which recognises the unique challenges facing such facilities.”

“But our inquiry was clear: Government must ensure nursing homes caring for high-needs residents have a registered nurse on duty 24/7 in the interests of resident safety.”

Submissions to the Commonwealth Senate inquiry close 4 March 2016.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Jan-Barham. RN 247 CAMPAIGN

Background

[i] Senate Community Affairs References Committee inquiry into the Future of Australia’s Aged Care Sector Workforce http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Aged_Care_Workforce

[ii] Nursing homes are largely regulated by the Commonwealth under the Aged Care Act 1997. The Act does not require nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty at all times. NSW mandates under the Public Health Act 2010 that nursing homes formerly known as ‘high care’ facilities be staffed by a registered nurse 24/7. This State requirement came under review after changes to the Aged Care Act removed the distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ care facilities, thus rendering the NSW requirement inoperable. The NSW Government is still reviewing its registered nurse requirement under the Public Health Act.

[iii] Paddy Manning ‘Profits rise, quality called into question in aged-care industry’ Crikey 15 January 2015, http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/01/15/profits-rise-quality-called-into-question-in-aged-care-industry/ & Tom Allard ‘Nursing home profits soar as patient care declines’ Sydney Morning Herald 1 January 2016 http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/nursing-home-profits-soar-as-patient-care-declines-20151224-glupug.html

NSW Legislative Council inquiry into registered nurses in New South Wales nursing homes: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/D7A6228FCC493975CA257E6F0024A87D

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