In the spirit of “Christmas in July”, the aged care sector was handed a beautifully wrapped package this month: a much anticipated 15% pay-rise for care workers.

Yet, as we peel back the layers of brightly coloured wrapping, there’s a noticeable disparity between the pledge and its delivery that has left the sector questioning whether this gift is just another lump of coal in the already embattled aged care sector’s stocking.

Providers now find themselves the meat in the turkey sandwich. On one hand, the messaging by the federal government means they are expected to pass on “full” 15% pay rise to staff. On the other hand, they’re not actually going to be funded to do so. For that they now face the justifiable hurt and dissatisfaction from those employees that miss out.

It raises a pertinent question: When aiming to uplift a sector as critical and battle weary as aged care, why does the delivery now seem to be dragging providers further into the deep?

This could have been a moment of collective success, but the government’s policy management instead sets up providers to bear the brunt of discontent and a significant cost impost.

You can read more about the not so shiny roll out of the wage increase in my latest opinion column in Business News magazine (page 55).

Many thanks to Andreas Geronimos for his contribution to this article.

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