The Australian Federal Budget 2023-24 will be unveiled on 9 May 2023, but we’re already getting a sneak peek at what’s to come. Treasurer Jim Chalmers has revealed that this year’s budget will include a significant pay rise for roughly 250,000 workers on the frontlines of Australia’s healthcare system. Some of these workers, he revealed, will be receiving an extra $10,000 per year in wages.
Who is eligible for a pay increase in this year’s budget?
The biggest increases will be applying to the following healthcare workers in the aged care sector:
- Registered nurses (on a level 2.3 award wage): More than $10,000 per year
- Enrolled nurses (on a level 2 wage): More than $7,300 per year
- Personal care workers (on a level award wage) or home care workers (on a level 3.1 award wage): More than $7,300 per year
- Assistant nurses (on a level 3 award wage): More than $7,100 per year
Significant increases will also apply to other professionals working in aged care settings, including head chefs/cooks and recreational activity officers.
According to The Canberra Times, this 15 per cent pay increase will come into effect on 1 July 2023. It is expected that these raises will cost a total of $11.3 billion over four years to fund.
Incentivising young workers
According to Mr Chalmers, the government hopes the move will motivate more young people to become involved in the aged care industry.
“Every worker deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and that’s what this will deliver for thousands in aged care across the country,” he said. “For too long, those working in aged care have been asked to work harder for longer without enough reward but, with this budget, that changes.”
This is not the first time the government has incentivised people – including international students and temporary residents – to work in the sector.
Healthcare – particularly aged care – is one of the sectors experiencing skill shortages in Australia. As such, the government has been prioritising skilled visa applicants in these roles – with some being processed in just one day – and provided additional post-study work rights to those getting qualifications in these fields.
Managing the cost of living crisis
Mr Chalmers also emphasised that these pay rises would be a game changer for those struggling with the ever-increasing cost of living. He reiterated that this was one of many initiatives laid out in the budget to provide “substantial cost-of-living relief”.
“It’ll prioritise the most vulnerable. It won’t just be limited by age, and it will be responsible,” he shared.
See also: Cost of Living Calculator