The 2021 federal budget welcomed positive changes for nurses and the aged care sector the day before International Nurses Day. 

International Nurses Day recognises the important role nurses play as the single largest workforce group.

The compassion, professionalism and round-the-clock work of nurses, especially through COVID-19, has been acknowledged in the budget. 

Nurses, as well as tradies, teachers and farmers, on low and middle incomes will receive a $1,080 tax cut in the budget.

Beneficiaries of tax cuts are nurses who earn between $48,000 and $90,000. 

Nursing student Zoe Devlin believes the upgrade for nurses couldn’t come any quicker.

“The pandemic has seen nurses work incredible hours tirelessly, so it’s important that we receive the support necessary to continue,” Ms Devlin said.

“The budget has seen loss for many groups but the announcement for reform in the aged care industry and for nurses is definitely a positive”.

The Morrison government provided confidence that the COVID-19 pandemic wouldn’t put a halt on changes necessary for recovery.

“Australia is coming back,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“In the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic, the Australian spirit has shone through. Doctors and nurses on the front-line, teachers and students in the virtual classroom, businesses, big and small, keeping the economy moving.”

Mr Frydenberg announced last night that COVID-19 affected job security and it was clear that keeping Australians in work was a focus of the Morrison government. 

“At 5.6 per cent, unemployment today is lower than when we came to government,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“Australia’s fate could have been much worse. We entered this crisis from a position of economic strength.”

St James Villa aged care worker Lana (who requested her surname not be published) believes the budget brings change that the industry has been looking for, but there is still more to be done.

“It’s time that investments are made directly to the aged care sector. With scholarships young people can be supported, educated and encouraged to enter aged care work,” Lana said.

“We need these changes to ensure that the workforce sustains quality and isn’t affected by burn out or lack of help, but an additional payment of $10 isn’t a lot”.

The government is putting an extra $17.7 billion toward aged care over five years. By October 2023, carers will be required to provide three hours and 20 minutes of care for each resident per day, including 40 minutes with a registered nurse. 

“We will increase the time nurses and carers are required to spend with residents,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“We will make an additional payment of $10 per resident per day. We will support over 33,000 new training places for personnel carers”.

Funding in the 21-22 budget to support women includes $998 million over the next four years towards reducing domestic and family violence.

“This support for women and victims is embraced in the nursing profession,” Ms Devlin said.

“As a young woman myself and someone who works with survivors seeing change and support that is imperative is a step in the right direction.”