Annerley Branch News – August 2021

Push for aged care reform

Annerley branch members have pledged to publicly highlight the urgent need for aged care sector reform in the lead-up to the next federal election. In a recently adopted resolution, members will endeavour to work with relevant unions and community organisations to ensure that ‘older Australians receive the dignity they deserve’.

The resolution articulates the need for universal access to high quality aged care services whilst recognising that our current system is in serious crisis and requires urgent government funding and action.

Branch members believe that older Australians deserve access to safe, person-centric and holistic care that is appropriate to individual needs, whether it is provided in the community, at home or in a residential facility.

Encouragingly, Labor’s National Platform commits the next federal Labor government to undertake a number of fundamental actions which are necessary to address many of the systemic problems facing the aged care sector. These actions include:

  • implementing the recommendations in the Aged Care Royal Commission’s final report within the first term of office.
  • ensuring the aged care sector is reformed in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, with the principles of quality, safety, dignity and fairness embedded at every level.
  • improving aged care regulation and accreditation system by ensuring older Australians – whether at home or in residential facilities – as well as their families, loved ones and the workforce can safely provide feedback, by means of a strong and robust complaints system.
  • working with unions and key stakeholders to implement a model of funding that better addresses the needs of the people it supports, with a focus on improved care quality, mandated minimum staffing, sustainability and transparency.
  • ensuring providers support their workers to attain qualifications, receive comprehensive training and engage in continued professional development.
  • working with industry stakeholders such as unions to review staffing models and ensure they are regularly revised and adapted as and when care needs increase or change.

The ALP’s national platform can be accessed at https://www.alp.org.au/about/national-platform/

Palaszczuk government urged to adopt compulsory preferential voting

The Palaszczuk state government has been urged to implement existing Queensland ALP policy of introducing compulsory preferential voting for local government elections in Queensland.

In a letter sent recently to Deputy Premier, Steven Miles MP, the branch expressed concern that the current situation, where federal and state elections are conducted by different voting systems, leads to unnecessary voter confusion.

Importantly, the letter points out that the current system of voluntary preferential voting is undemocratic as it fails to ensure the winning candidate is the preferred candidate of a majority of the people they represent.

As an example, in the 2020 Brisbane City Council election, of the 26 Councillors who were elected, 7 (27%) won after the distribution of preferences with less than 50% of the formal vote. All 7 were LNP Councillors. Thus 37% of Councillors in the current Brisbane City Council administration represent Wards where they received less than 50% of the vote.

The letter requests that the Queensland Labor Government introduce compulsory preferential voting for local government elections before the end of 2021.

Housing legislation under review

The Annerley Branch has provided feedback on the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 which is currently before the Queensland Parliament.

In providing comments regarding the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021, the Branch noted concerns expressed by various community sector organisations that have outlined suggestions for amendment. These concerns include:

• that the Bill fails to protect renters from unfair evictions with the grounds to end a tenancy, for ‘end of a fixed term’, requiring removal as a matter of priority.
• that the government’s recommendation to allow tenants to undertake minor health, safety, accessibility and security modifications without prior approval, has been removed from the proposed legislation,
• that, in relation to prevention of violence, the ability to install security measures without prior agreement from the lessor is a vital safety protection which should be included in the Bill, and
• that the proposed legislation will result in people with pets being vetted out at application time or subject to conditions requiring the average dog or cat to live outside, which may not be suitable.