Bringing voices of senior Australians to centre of aged care reform

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

The Morrison Government has welcomed the first meeting of the Aged Care Council of Elders.

A key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Government established the Council of Elders as part of new governance arrangements arising from our aged care reforms.

The role of the council will be to consult with senior Australians to provide advice to Ministers on a range of matters including aged care quality and safety, the needs of senior Australians and their families and carers and the rights and dignity of senior Australians.

Attending the first meeting today, Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the Council of Elders will play a critical role in making sure that those most central to the aged care system, senior Australians, have significant input into shaping the future of aged care.

Minister Hunt said we have a unique opportunity to transform aged care and build a system that delivers high quality, safe aged care for senior Australians where and when they need it – new governance groups like this are critical to our ability to think differently and deliver better outcomes.

“Today’s meeting reinforced my confidence in the selected members. They are extremely passionate, and their collective knowledge and experience will be invaluable in making sure we get the future of aged care right and that it’s focused on the needs of senior Australians.”

“I am excited to work with the council members to hear their frank and fearless advice, engage the incredible resource we have in our senior population and dispel the common misconception that our value in society diminishes after a certain age.”

Minister Colbeck commended and thanked Council of Elders chair Ian Yates for his leadership.

“Under Mr Yates’ tenure, we know the Council of Elders will help offer a defined and clear pathway as we continue to navigate the challenges across the aged care sector,” Minister Colbeck said.

Mr Yates said the first meeting of council members offered an important opportunity to ensure that into the future older Australians will have direct and meaningful influence on the directions in which aged care develops.

“The Council members bring a great wealth and diversity of experience to the age d care reform process and to ageing policy more broadly, and are committed to engaging widely with older Australians to ensure their concerns, needs and preferences make a major contribution to shaping new ways of best meeting the care needs of people as they age.”

Key topics of discussion in today’s meeting included the impacts of the pandemic on senior Australians, especially those in residential aged care facilities; and the need for a proactive approach to enabling older people to age well, to continue to be accorded their rights while receiving aged care, and have choice and control over their lives.

The Council of Elders is scheduled to meet again in February, where members will continue their discussion around government reform initiatives currently being advanced, and engage with other senior Australians on how those changes are implemented.

Visit the Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub to read about the reforms and to participate in engagement activities. Visit https://www.agedcareengagement.health.gov.au.

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