The Federal Government has established the national council to advise on aged care issues and reform almost five months after the start date projected in its response to the recommendations of the aged care royal commission.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck jointly announced the 17 members of the National Aged Care Advisory Council on Wednesday.
Aged care’s quality and safety advisory council chair and former Victorian Government shadow minister for ageing Andrea Coote will lead the council as inaugural chair.
The other 16 members include aged care CEOs Rachel Argaman, Mike Baird and Graeme Prior from Opal HealthCare, HammondCare and Hall & Prior respectively, along with health and allied health experts and IT systems, finance and workforce professionals.
The membership also includes chief executive of consumer peak Council on the Ageing Australia, Ian Yates, who was named inaugural chair of the Council of Elders while an announcement on other members of that group is expected later in the year.
The aged care advisory council will provide expert advice on aged care issues and the implementation of aged care reforms.
The government had proposed a 1 July start date for the council and provider groups raised concerns about the delay last month.
Mr Hunt said the advisory council was part of the government’s response to the royal commission.
“This is the most significant reform ever undertaken by an Australian Government to improve the care of senior Australians both in residential care and care at home,” Mr Hunt said in a statement.
Mr Colbeck said the advisory council marked an important step forward.
“Aged care in Australia is undergoing its most significant reform in a generation,” Mr Colbeck said. “Strength through representation is key to ensuring these changes are made in the best interests of senior Australians and those who care for them.”
Peak bodies welcome announcement
The AACC welcomes the establishment of the council, despite the delay, said Sean Rooney, AACC representative and Leading Age Services Australia CEO.
“We’re pleased that it’s finally been announced. This was supposed to be established in July as per the government’s plan and we’ve been repeatedly talking to government saying, ‘well, where is this group?’ because it’s a key component of the reform agenda,” Mr Rooney told Australian Ageing Agenda.
The AACC is waiting to see the government’s next steps for the advisory council, he said.
“We would like to see the detailed reform plan, the program of changes, and also specifically the terms of reference for the council so we know exactly what it would be responsible and accountable for. Because those two key elements will give us in the sector but also within the community, absolute clarity and confidence around getting the reform on track and delivering on the intent of what the royal commission has recommended,” Mr Rooney said.
He said it was important for everybody to understand the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of the advisory council.
“The sector recently has high expectations that this council will be responsible for the design and the delivery of the reform program, and will be held accountable for its implementation,” Mr Rooney said.
“We’re expecting now that the council has been formed that this will be the opportunity for that inclusive, participatory process not only for aged care providers, but for the consumer representatives and other professional groups to be playing an active role in the design of changes that will impact them directly.”
National Aged Care Advisory Council members
The members include:
- Andrea Coote, Aged Care Quality and Safety Advisory Council chair
- Ian Yates, COTA Australia chief executive
- Rachel Argaman, Opal HealthCare CEO
- Michael Baird, HammondCare CEO
- Jennene Buckley, Enkindle Consulting founding partner
- Elizabeth Callaghan, Carers Australia CEO
- Andrew Condon, RSL LifeCare director
- Jill Gallagher, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation CEO
- Emma Hossack, Medical Software Industry Association CEO
- Dr Sandra Iuliano, University of Melbourne senior research fellowand nutritionist
- Claerwen Little, UnitingCare Australia national director
- Libby Lyons, Aged Care Workforce Industry Council chairperson
- Maree McCabe, Dementia Australia CEO
- Gail Mulcair, Speech Pathology Australia CEO
- Associate Professor Michael Murray, National Ageing Research Institute president
- Mary Patetsos, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia chairperson
- Graeme Prior, Hall & Prior CEO