FEDERAL aged care minister Richard Colbeck says the government is delivering record investment in the sector, after Royal Freemasons attributed widespread staffing changes to a lack of funding.
It comes as families of residents at two Royal Freemasons homes in Bendigo raise concerns about how roster reforms could affect their loved ones, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Royal Freemasons on Monday said it was redistributing hours and roles, with changes affecting all parts of the organisation.
Chief executive Kerri Rivett called on the federal government to "fund aged care appropriately to enable us to deliver care and services that reflect what our residents and their loved ones want."
She said the government needed to provide at least $15 more per resident per day.
Mr Colbeck today said investment in aged care grew to $21.4 billion in 2019/20, from $13.3 billion in 2012/13.
Investment in 2022/23 was estimated at $25.4 billion.
"Since March this year, the government has provided over $850 million in measures to support and protect senior Australians in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Mr Colbeck said.
"The funding includes $234.9 million for a COVID-19 'retention bonus' to ensure the continuity of the workforce for aged care workers in both residential and home care."
He said providers were expected to regularly review workforce levels and the mix of their staff's skills and "adapt these to respond to the changing needs and situations of residents".
Rosters at Royal Freemasons homes in both Flora Hill and Kangaroo Flat are being adjusted by 6.5 per cent "to ensure sustainability now and into the future".
The daughter of a resident at the home in Kangaroo Flat was concerned cuts to cleaning staff would put her mother at risk of COVID-19.
The woman, who requested to remain anonymous, said her mother had heard from staff her room would not be cleaned for a while because of the staffing changes.
She feared this could contribute to an outbreak.
"That's my biggest worry. I'm considering whether I leave her in there or not," the woman said.
"They deserve the best care. She's 93, she's got her wits about her, they deserve better," the woman said.
She said staff were lovely, but already run off their feet.
"[My mother] always says that they're lovely girls in there, she says they just haven't got the time," the woman said.
Roster changes were expected to take effect in the two Bendigo homes in second week of August.
Royal Freemasons said consultation with staff was ongoing.