In light of Sussan Ley’s recent resignation, Ken Wyatt has been appointed the Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the limited reshuffle with the appointment of Greg Hunt for the Minister for Health and Sport and Ken Wyatt for Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health.
Former Minister Sussan Ley, who resigned as the senior health minister on Friday after being embroiled in an expenses scandal, was the Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport.
Ken Wyatt, who will now take over Ms Ley’s aged care portfolio, is also now the Minister of Indigenous Health. Mr Wyatt is the first Indigenous person to hold a federal ministry.
Mr Wyatt was the logical option for the appointment as he was previously the assistant minister handling aged care issues.
Though Mr Wyatt will be the Minister for Aged Care, Mr Hunt, as the senior minister, will represent aged care in the cabinet.
In the announcement earlier today, the Prime Minister said that Arthur Sinodinos, who has served as the acting health minister since Sussan Ley initially stepped down from the role 10 days ago, will replace Mr Hunt as the Industry Minister.
Labor Critical of Re-shuffle
The changes made by the Prime Minister has be received with backlash from the Labor Party.
They believe that Mr Wyatt would be inheriting a portfolio that is currently undergoing a funding crisis. They also suggested that the ageing and shrinking aged care workforce means there is a need for rapid growth in the sector – something they are skeptical about due to the limited re-shuffle.
Shadow Minister for Ageing Julie Collins believes that separating the Aged Care portfolio from the Health portfolio would a mistake.
“At a time when aged care is demanding greater funding and major reform, removing the portfolio from cabinet is a huge step backwards,” she said.
However it could also be argued that designating the portfolio to Mr Wyatt, along with his responsibilities with Indigenous Health, instead of putting it with Health and Sport with Mr Hunt, could allow for more attention on the aged care portfolio.