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.

Ian Yates

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.

Greg Hunt

“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.

Sean Rooney

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

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9 Comments

  1. While it is a great move to establish the Aged Care advisory board, please note the majority of the members are senior management who sit in an office all day everyday. The real advise could come from the staff on the floor as in care workers, allied health staff, kitchen staff and so on. They are the workers, they know what needs to be fixed and implemented and then they wonder why aged care is in such disarray because they do not address the real issues, in fact I don’t believe they even understand the real issues. They only collect their rather large pay checks and sweep the real problems under the carpet.

    So yet again we have a council of CEO’s who have never done a days work on the floor. It is a waste of time and money.

  2. I agree that senior Managers (as far as I can tell) largely from the eastern states predominate and that once again mental health seems to be largely absent. Please do show us the plan, and the TOR and what outcomes are being sought from yet another advisory council.

  3. I agree with Jennifer, 80% of the aged care sector are not represented by this council. They are the stand alone providers who do have direct contact with residents and families each and every day. I think the membership should be reconsidered and include at least 2 members from the stand alone providers with a combination of rural and metro.

  4. The NACAC seems to be yet another coming together of professional managers. I understand that Government can’t speak to all and so it has to speak to so-called representatives at a national level. I hope the Council will somehow engage in meaningful conversations with those who provide direct care, and shift slightly left to gain perception of real issues beyond those deemed of interest to their different organisations.

    As an example, as a Counsellor, I contacted a consumer organisation in 2017 to raise awareness about older people + MH. No interest in seeking advice.
    PHNs have no interest in individuals with expertise in older people + aged care unless they represent an organisation or come from a health background.

    Today the MH of older adults is relevant in any care environment. Counsellors are skilled professionals. So if the Council is going to address MH issues of older adults, I encourage them to speak with Counsellors through relevant Associations and beyond organisations that are funded to deliver psychological support services to older adults. They may be surprised to learn that Counsellors’ narratives may be relevant to supporting the new Support At Home program!

  5. Elders with Lived experience of the ageing journey will have to report their combined thoughts etc to the National Advisory Council. Some of them , no doubt, will talk about all aspects of the system including staffing.

    However I did think staff at all levels would have some representation on the National Council

  6. I agree with the above especially Val Fell.
    Why people with actual coalface experience are never represented beats me.
    It is always about the business model never the inputs from or the welfare of the people who are the recipients of care.

  7. Where will retirement villages figure in this structure? Called “independent living” when it suits, but in fact all villageurs need some form of care. That they are state-regulated, not federal, should not make a difference.

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