Australia’s new leader Scott Morrison has named his ministry and while many offices will have new plaques on their doors, the aged care portfolio has retained its head in Ken Wyatt.
After indicating that he would consider his position should Peter Dutton win the party’s vote in the latest leadership spill – due to Dutton’s decision to boycott Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generation – it seemed Wyatt did not have the same reservation about serving under now Prime Minister Morrison.
Following Morrison’s win, Wyatt tweeted that he would be willing to continue serving Australians in whatever capacity the Prime Minister wished.
That capacity ended up being as Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, along with Indigenous Health.
COTA chief executive Ian Yates welcomed the portfolio’s broader remit, along with Morrison’s declaration the task will focus on “quality of life challenges and their cost of living pressures”.
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) chief executive Sean Rooney was also happy to see the broadened role but expressed the peak’s disappointment that the aged care portfolio was not elevated to Cabinet.
“Australia is facing a ‘new normal’ as the ‘baby boomer’ generation ages, requiring a major shift in the way we think about ageing,” Rooney said. “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.”
Rooney said the aged care sector took some reassurance from Morrison’s Budget night address as Treasurer.
“We’re living longer. It’s a good thing,” Morrison said in his speech. “We want to preserve and increase the choices of older Australians.”
Rooney said: “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.”
Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) also saw Morrison’s first speech as Prime Minister as a good sign.
When asked what, apart from drought, were his policy priorities, he listed aged care as one of several, along with electricity prices, Medicare, small- and medium-size businesses, affordable medicines and chronic illness.Do you have an idea for a story?
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