The federal government is preparing to roll out bonus payments to workers across residential aged care homes struggling with the ongoing wave of COVID-19 infections.
Workers will be eligible for payments of up to $400 each, paid pro rata based on hours worked, this month. The second payment will follow in May.
Staff providing care, food and cleaning services in government-subsidised facilities will be eligible as well as those in the federal home care scheme.
More than 400 virus deaths this year have been in aged care facilities, amounting to about a third of more than 1160 overall fatalities.
Labor’s health spokesman Mark Butler accused the Morrison government of failing older Australians as aged care facilities struggled to obtain rapid antigen tests and personal protective equipment.
The bonus comes as protesters prepare for a second day of action in Canberra following a march on Parliament House on Monday.
The protesters sought a meeting with political leaders, but appeared unaware parliament is not sitting this week.
The minister responsible for aged care, Richard Colbeck, will on Wednesday front a Senate committee focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has come under intense fire for skipping an earlier hearing on January 14 and going to the cricket.
Australia’s vaccine rollout coordinator Lieutenant General John Frewen and Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly are also due to appear alongside representatives from the Therapeutic Goods Administration and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.
People who had their second dose three months ago are now eligible to receive a booster after the national rollout expanded again.
About 40 per cent of children aged between five and 11 have received one dose as schools return.
Australia recorded 44 virus deaths on Monday, 27 of them in NSW which also reported 13,026 new infections.
In Victoria, eight people died while 10,053 new infections were recorded.
South Australia reported six deaths and 1505 more cases, while Queensland recorded three deaths and 7462 new infections.
Another 760 cases were confirmed in the Northern Territory, 537 in the ACT and 504 in Tasmania.
Western Australia reported 12 new locally acquired infections.