Julie Collins MP will continue in Labor’s Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors, while Ged Kearney has been appointed Shadow Assistant Minister for Aged Care.
Ms Collins has also been appointed Shadow Minister for Women.
“I thank Anthony Albanese for the opportunity,” said Ms Collins in a statement.
“The next period of Government is a crucial time for the future of older Australians,” Ms Collins said.
“With the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety set to deliver an interim report in less than six months, I will be relentless in ensuring the Government responds appropriately to the work of the Commission.
Ms Collins said Scott Morrison had “failed” older Australians by not including the minister for aged care in the Cabinet.
“I congratulate Ged Kearney MP on her appointment as Shadow Assistant Minister for Aged Care and I look forward to working with her,” Ms Collins said.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation welcomed news of the appointments.
In a statement, the ANMF said it is confident the ALP will remain committed to its pre-election commitment of ‘improving quality of care’ in aged care by boosting staffing levels.
Assistant Minister launched staff ratio campaign a decade age
Ms Kearney, formerly a nurse, 10 years ago launched the campaign to introduce mandated staff ratios in aged care.
ANMF Federal Secretary Anniei Butler said, “We’re excited that finally, we have someone who understands aged care and understands what has to be done to fix it.”
ACSA welcomes appointments
Aged & Community Services Australia also welcomed the appointments.
“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 CEO 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,” she said.
“The hard reality that must be faced on both sides of politics is that not everyone in Australia is getting the aged care they need. As we live longer as individuals and the population ages – our health and care needs are increasingly becoming more complex.
“We are disappointed that the Royal Commission was used as an excuse to delay urgent reforms from the major parties during the election campaign but it’s not too late to turn that around,” Ms Sparrow said.