ANMF Priorities 2023

09 January 2023

On the back of a positive 2022 with action to start improving conditions in our health, aged care and welfare sectors, the ANMF is determined to work on a list of priorities over 2023 that will support the professions and the health systems they work in.

Australia is one of the few developed nations that does not actively set targets for gender equality. Yet, Australian women experience inequality in many areas of their working and social lives, including disparate wages, poverty, discrimination and gender-based violence.

The ANMF is advocating for greater flexibility in the workplace for nurses, midwives, and personal care workers, many of whom are women juggling multiple work and caring responsibilities.

Every Australian deserves access to quality and affordable healthcare, no matter who they are, or where they live. Yet, that’s not always the case.

The ANMF is calling for a range of measures to achieve health equity, including the review of health funding models, greater use of nurse-run clinics and nurse-led models of care, improving the capacity of the health system in rural and remote areas to meet community needs, and exploring digital telehealth opportunities, especially in rural and remote, and within nurse-led clinics.

After years of declining quality in care and neglect for elderly Australians, the Albanese Government acted on its election promises by commencing long-overdue aged care reform.

Landmark legislation, spearheaded by the Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022, passed into law on 27 October 2022, will require aged care providers to have a registered nurse on site, and on duty, 24/7, from 1 July 2023. Aged care providers will also need to be more transparent and accountable regarding their use of taxpayer funding, including regularly publishing financial information on what they spend on care, nursing, food, maintenance, cleaning, and profits.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the start of aged care reform offered renewed hope for members working in the sector. “While implementation of these crucial reforms will take some time, ANMF members and aged care workers across the country will finally see the first real steps towards actually fixing the aged care sector."

In late October, the Albanese Government took action to finally get wages moving, improve working conditions and achieve gender-equality across workplaces, with the introduction of its industrial relations legislation, the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill passed into law in December.

Key focus areas the ANMF will lobby for industrial relations reform include creating less burdensome threshold requirements for taking protected industrial action; advocating for permanent employment and only limited use of fixed term contracts; and keeping pressure on employers to comply with flexible working arrangement obligations rather than relying on casual work arrangements.

Globally there is a shortage of nurses and midwives. The pandemic has exacerbated health workforce shortages worldwide with many countries ill equipped and struggling to maintain adequate health service provision.

The ANMF is working with government, alongside the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (Australia and New Zealand), the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), the Australian and Nursing Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) and other peak nursing bodies on strategies to grow our nursing, midwifery and care worker workforce and ensure a sustainable pipeline for the future.

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