Former nurse Ged Kearney has been appointed Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care.
Clare O’Neil, who had performed impressively in the role of Shadow Minister for Aged Care, has been moved to the position of Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security.
Aged care was a key plank of Labor’s election campaign, promising $2.5 billion for around-the-clock nurses in aged care, improved food, better conditions for residents, and higher pay for workers.
But some have expressed concern about the appointment of Butler to the aged care portfolio considering he was Minister for Ageing and Aged Care between 2010 and 2013, under the Gillard and Rudd governments.
Social affairs reporter for The Saturday Paper, Rick Morton, wrote in 2020 that the reforms delivered “vast sums of free money to providers”.
“Looking forward to getting started”
This morning on ABC radio, Wells said, “Australians care deeply about fixing aged care.”
She said tens of thousands voted for Labor based on their plans for aged care and that she was, “Looking forward to getting started.”
Wells herself worked in aged care while studying at university and her mother worked in aged care for a decade before retiring.
She said many aged care homes are “grossly understaffed” and reiterated Labor’s promise to back pay rises for aged care staff, and said the government is “looking at submission” already.
The new government has said it will look overseas for aged care workers.
“Workers don’t feel the position is valued by society so we have to deal with that,” Wells observed.