CANBERRA, AAP – A majority of Australians back a huge wage rise for aged care workers and say federal government funding for the sector should be increased.

The polling conducted for the Health Services Union found 71 per cent of voters backed a 25 per cent increase in the average pay rate to $29 per cent hour, from around $22.

Some 62 per cent want federal funding for the sector to be increased, the poll conducted by JSW Research found.

The findings come after a tough few months for the aged care sector as the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 took its toll on residents and workers.

HSU National president Gerard Hayes said it was a wake-up call for the government.


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“It’s simply inexplicable that Scott Morrison and the Liberals are yet to back the HSU case for a decent wage aged care rise,” he said on Wednesday.

“We will be reminding the public of this every day until the federal election.”

Mr Hayes said the poll was also a warning for the Labor opposition.

“Labor needs to be clear on its commitment to aged care or it will risk losing support to those independents and minor parties who do,” he added.

Mr Hayes said at least 600 aged care residents had lost their lives during the Omicron outbreak.

“This workforce is mostly casual or underemployed women. Their work is physically and emotionally exhausting and they are at their wits’ end,” he said.

The national poll of 1600 voters was conducted online between January 10-19.