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Aged care portfolio avoids attention in leadership challenge ‘change up’

Australia’s aged care and health portfolio’s remain untouched following the weekend’s successful leadership challenge which has seen Scott Morrison replace Malcolm Turnbull as the leader of the Liberal Party, and as Prime Minister (PM).

Despite ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull being replaced by Scott Morrison, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has kept his position (Source: Twitter)
Despite ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull being replaced by Scott Morrison, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has kept his position (Source: Twitter)

While a number of the portfolio’s and ministerial positions have been ‘reshuffled’ as part of the switch to the Morrison Government, national aged care peak bodies have come forward to share their support of the reappointment of both Minister Ken Wyatt and Minister Greg Hunt to the areas of aged care and health, as well as the announcement from the new PM that aged care is a “priority”.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Chief Executive Officer Pat Sparrow says the peak body welcomes the announcement of the new Ministry, and is happy to see the reappointment of both Ken Wyatt as Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, and Greg Hunt as Minister for Health.

“We welcome the continuation of Ministers Hunt and Wyatt in their portfolios,” she says.

“ACSA has been working closely with them to ensure the aged care industry is able to provide the services older Australians want and need now and into the future.

“We remain committed to collaborate with the Government to respond to the growing demands and costs of aged care.

“The aged care industry is facing a number of challenges [and] in his first speech it was pleasing that Prime Minister Morrison said that aged care was one of his priorities.

“We look forward to continuing to tackle these significant and fundamental challenges under the leadership of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Ministers Hunt and Wyatt.”

Fellow aged care peak body Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) CEO Sean Rooney has also shared his support of the new PM’s decision to leave the aged care portfolio untouched and his recognition of the growing needs and complexity of issues regarding an ageing Australia, but also notes some disappointment at the decision to not elevate the Minister for Aged Care to Cabinet.

“The issues of ageing and aged care are of national importance and we need to engage all Australians in what it means to age well in our country,” Mr Rooney says.

“These issues deserve the attention and direct focus of the Cabinet - this appointment would bring the necessary focus and authority needed to effectively meet the changing needs of the growing numbers of older Australians and enable them to age well.

“I am confident the Prime Minister will be a passionate advocate for the care of older Australians and will work hard to ensure that meeting the needs of older Australians is not framed as a burden to be borne, but rather an opportunity to be realised.”

Like ACSA, Mr Rooney adds that LASA is looking forward to continue to work with Ministers Wyatt and Hunt to address a range of current and emerging aged care issues that are affecting the nation, also noting the peak’s desire to continue to work closely with the Morrison Government with “renewed commitment” to delivering the funding and policy reform that older Australians “needs and deserve”.

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