It has recently come to light that in 2011 a young worker at an aged care facility in Maidstone, Victoria, was sacked for refusing to lie about the death of a resident.

The Melbourne Herald Sun reported that Susan Mutami, a newly arrived Zimbabwean immigrant, was directed by her boss to report that the resident had collapsed in a corridor and died of a heart attack.

In fact, Susan had seen the resident lying motionless in a pool. She courageously reported what she had seen to the coroner. On appearing for her next shift, Susan was sacked on the spot.

This incident is an example of the sort of intimidation applied to the largely immigrant workforce in the aged care sector. The facility in question is run by Arcare Pty Ltd, a for-profit company.

The Victorian government is about to sell 1,000 aged care beds to private providers like Arcare. Government-run facilities operate with a one nurse to five residents ratio. This will go when these beds are sold to the private sector. In aged care, low staff numbers are a disaster waiting to happen.