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Ged Kearney. Photo: Supplied.

Nurse named in Albanese’s shadow aged care team

MP and nurse Ged Kearney has been added to opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s aged care team.

The former union leader, who won the federal seat of Batman for Labor, was named Shadow Assistant Minister on Sunday.

Speaking to Nursing Review in the lead up to last year’s Batman by-election, Kearney said her experience as a nurse would play a key role in parliament should she win.

When asked about the workloads aged care professionals face, Kearney said:

We do know the aged care system is under pressure at the moment and needs a great deal of attention, and there’s been tinkering around the edges here and there with funding, and always bits and pieces of changes, but it really needs a good, hard look at the whole system and how it works.

“I’ve dealt with the issue of workloads around patient ratios – there are many, many ways in other states that we can set up workloads that make life safe for nurses, and that’s really all we want to do.

“I really understand all the permutations and combinations, if you like, of how to go about making change so that workloads are manageable. And aged care – boy oh boy, we really need to look at it very carefully in aged care.”

Aged care peak body Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) welcomed Kearney’s appointment, along with the retention of Julie Collins as Shadow Minister.

“Julie Collins is an experienced minister and Ms Kearney has worked in aged care in previous roles which makes both well placed to understand and respond to the challenges facing our sector,” ACSA chief executive Patricia Sparrow said.

“There is reason to feel optimistic about what can be achieved through the big national conversation we are now having about ageing and aged care. Bipartisan cooperation, and the involvement and engagement of the opposition, will be required to realise this.”

Chris Bowen was named Shadow Minister for Health.

The shadow ministry will today meet for the first time.

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