Sue Bull, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Corio, said the mounting pandemic death toll among the aged exposes the federal government’s negligence and incompetence.
Further, she said the new government hand out — “a trifling $800 bonus” to aged care workers — won’t solve the problem.
Bull is a health and safety teacher in the construction industry, a union member and environment campaigner.
“Scott Morrison and company have learnt nothing from the tragedy at [aged care facility] St Basils or the 655 COVID-19-related deaths in aged care in Victoria over 2020,” she said.
A Department of Health report on January 28 revealed that 1261 aged-care homes are now battling active outbreaks: 389 elderly residents have died since the start of the year.
Bull said the price of opening up and “learning to live with COVID-19” means “the elderly and those with underlying conditions are sacrificed”.
“It could have all been so different if there had been an infusion of funds on resources, staffing and booster vaccines,” Bull said. “Instead, some 500 aged-care homes have still not received their promised booster shots and 30% of staff are sick or isolating.”
Bull also criticised Labor MP Richard Marles for “saying precious little” about this neglect.
Socialist Alliance is campaigning to raise funding and staffing levels for health and aged care. “We want to see the healthcare needs of people put ahead of profit,” she said.