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Cabinet reshuffle results in new Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians

Following the re-election of the Liberal Party, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has shuffled the cabinet positions around, removing Member of Parliament, Mr Ken Wyatt from his spot as Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians.

New Senator Richard Colbeck with newly re-elected Prime Minister Scott Morrison. [Source: Office of Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck]
New Senator Richard Colbeck with newly re-elected Prime Minister Scott Morrison. [Source: Office of Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck]

Taking over the Aged Care and Senior Australians portfolios from Mr Wyatt is Tasmanian Senator, Mr Richard Colbeck, previously the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Senator Colbeck says, “It is an important time in aged care, particularly with the Aged Care Royal Commission underway and the need to support senior Australians in their later life.

“Aged care involves the lives of so many Australians directly and indirectly, and virtually all families will have an experience with aged care in their lifetime.

“As the new Minister I am focused on ensuring that our record funding enables senior Australians to age with dignity and receive the care that they deserve.

Senator Colbeck continued that he plans to deliver on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety results to ensure the Australian community has confidence that their loved ones are receiving high-quality care and respect.

The Government will be continuing to roll out the new, independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, who will enforce the new Aged Care standards.

Senator Colbeck says the Government aims to meet the changing expectations of aged care, and will include the expansion of residential aged care and support for senior Australians to stay and be cared for in their own homes.

The pre-election commitments, including an Aged Care Workforce Research Centre and investing in measures to reduce loneliness among seniors, are a priority of Senator Colbeck’s.

Industry peak body, National Seniors Australia, has welcomed the new ministerial changes and is again asking for urgent action for the aged care sector.

The advocacy organisation wants something down now rather than waiting for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety report in October and final report in April 2020.

National Seniors’ Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke, says, “Critical issues in aged care have already been exposed by the Royal Commission – at this point, all parties should get on with the job of fixing them immediately.

“We congratulate Scott Morrison on his success, his new cabinet and new Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator Richard Colbeck. We look forward to working with Senator Colbeck and others and urge him to make the disgraceful shortage of home care packages a top priority.

“The Royal Commission has uncovered appalling evidence of aged care failure and it is time for all parties to commit to action and explain to voters their plans and resourcing for fixing the system.”

Mr Henschke highlighted issues they want addressed, including long waits for home care packages and greater investment in home care.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a review of Australia’s retirement income system, which has been welcomed by National Seniors Australia.

Mr Colbeck believes he will be able to deliver positive outcomes for each of the portfolios he now handles.
As well as the portfolio for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Mr Colbeck is also covering the Youth and Sport portfolios.

Mr Colbeck began his parliamentary career in 2001, and has held a number of roles in assistant minister positions before losing his Senate seat in 2016.

He only returned to his Senate position in 2017 after the dual citizenship eligibility to parliament debacle benefitted him, taking up a seat position from Tasmanian Liberal Senator Stephen Parry who was forced to resign.

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