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Nominations open for ‘Council of Elders’, peaks want more detail

The government is taking nominations for the 'Aged Care Council of Elders', one of the key recommendations from the royal commission, however, industry peaks are calling for more transparency into future plans.

In a joint announcement, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck opened nominations for the panel. The government is seeking people with diverse lived experience in the industry from around the country.

The council will play a significant role in advising and consulting government ministers on issues and concerns facing aged care consumers.

While pleased to hear the news, LASA chief Sean Rooney said he held concerns about the broader reform agenda, including the proposed National Aged Care Advisory Council.

“It’s now mid-October and we’re yet to hear any detail from the government on their scope of work, the terms of reference or even the Advisory Council’s membership,” Rooney told Aged Care Insite.

“It’s a real concern that we have no detail of where that is up to.”

According to the government schedule, the advisory council was to be established on July 1. 

Minister Hunt indicated that the council will be formed by the end of this year and that members must have no affiliation with the government or with service providers.

"The Council of Elders will have about 10 members appointed from nominations right across Australia, including rural, regional and remote areas," Hunt wrote in a statement.

In a press release from the Aged Care Collaboration (ACCC) the peak bodies called for more insight into the progression of the advisory councils.

"We as a sector are concerned about the progress of reform implementation and the so far limited inclusion of key stakeholder organisations in the consultation process," said Rooney.

"There is a lot of activity from the government about the reforms, but there is no clear picture of how it all fits together.

"We need to understand this so that we can support not just aged care providers but our staff, residents and clients, their families and other stakeholders because from our understanding they share the same concerns and frustrations."

Around 80 per cent of older Australians said that they want to be more involved in designing a new aged care sector, according to research from National Seniors Australia.

One of the key roles of the council will be to facilitate face-to-face meetings and open forums with members of the public to guide the direction of the changes.

Ian Yates, chief executive of Council on Ageing Australia (COTA), said he hopes the government will select people who can provide an opportunity for “significant and well-informed consumer input”.

“We hope it will be diverse, and that at least some of them will have direct lived experience of aged care, but also older people but with some experience of the reform process," he said.

“This is something that we have suffered from not having in the past and it’s essential.”

Nominations for the Council of Elders will close Friday, October 15. For more information click here.

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