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Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to announce two new new bonus payments worth up to $400 each for aged care workers struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Morrison will make the pre-election commitment at the National Press Club on Tuesday, his office said in a statement.

He will promise aged care sector workers two payments that total up to $800 — the first will be available within weeks and the second by early May.

PM Australia Day 2022
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce the payments during a National Press Club speech Tuesday, February 1. (Getty)

The bonuses will be paid to 234,000 aged care workers in government subsidised home care and residential aged care, and including workers who provide direct care, food or cleaning services to elderly clients.

They will be able to access the first payment in February and the second in May.

The total amount given to each worker will depend on the hours they’ve worked. It will be funded by a further $209 million package for the aged care sector.

“Of course, none of our health outcomes would be possible without the hard work, long hours and dedicated care offered by our frontline health and aged care workforce,” Mr Morrison will say, according to a draft of the speech.

“Their resilience over the past two years has been inspiring.”

United Workers Union Aged Care director Carolyn Smith welcomed the planned announcement but was skeptical it went far enough to help the sector.

“Today’s announcement of two financial bonuses for aged care workers is a welcome relief for the people who have cared for our older Australians during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” she said in a statement.

“In particular, the union is pleased that the bonus has been extended to include all aged care workers, including catering and cleaning staff, as well as care workers.

“The aged care industry is at absolute breaking point, and I am not sure these bonuses will fix the systemic issues in the industry.

Aged care facilities across Australia are facing COVID-19 outbreaks and staff shortages.
Aged care facilities across Australia are facing COVID-19 outbreaks and staff shortages. (Getty Images/Maskot)

“Aged care workers are struggling with low pay, understaffing and the poor rollout of COVID-19 response by Scott Morrison. The fact that workers are still not receiving regular RATs and adequate PPE is indicative of the Federal Government’s failure in this area.

“Although we do welcome Scott Morrison’s admission that aged care wages need to be substantially improved, something we have been saying for a long time now.”

Source: 9News

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