Dec 19, 2023

New members of Aged Care Council of Elders announced, strong advocates return

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Aged care advocate Gwenda Darling (pictured, left) will be returning as a member of the Aged Care Council of Elders. [Source: LinkedIn]

The Australian Government has to announce the new and returning members for the Aged Care Council of Elders.

Following the Council’s productive initial term, applications were sought from older people with strong connections in their local communities and lived experience of aged care and after a rigorous selection process, seven new members will be commencing in January 2024. 

The Council of Elders provides a direct voice to the Government about aged care reform and ageing well on behalf of older people. 

The announcement comes a day after the Federal Government released the exposure draft of the new Aged Care Act which is open to feedback from aged care advocates, providers, residents, their family members, and staff until February 2024.

 Anne Burgess AM remains as Council Chair and is joined by new members:

  • Lynda Whiteway, who receives a home care package and is a carer for a family member with dementia
  • Anna Harrison AM, who has strong connections with local culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • Aunty Lynette Cullinane, a Mununjali woman with strong connections with First Nations peoples, particularly women and people in rural and remote areas
  • Juliet Rankin, who has a background in palliative care and working in rural and remote communities
  • Major General Vikram Madon OAM, who is connected to local older culturally and linguistically diverse people, particularly those experiencing domestic abuse
  • James Carey, who resides in an aged care home and is an aged care community volunteer
  • Doctor John Davis, who is well connected to older people in aged care in his local community, particularly those from LGBTQI+ communities

Returning members are:

  • Gillian Groom AO
  • Doctor Tom Calma AO
  • Professor John McCallum
  • Margaret Walsh
  • Val Fell OAM
  • Gwenda Darling

Gwenda Darling, an aged care advocate living with dementia, said she was honoured to have been reappointed to the Council of Elders at a time when the sector is undergoing immense reform. She plans to advocate for ensuring human rights are embedded in the new Aged Care Act. 

“If I was in hospital, possibly blocking a bed people urgently needed, I would be able to access necessary medication. Adequate funded transport, dental and allied health services for all home care package recipients in rural areas is another of my priorities will be continuing to fight for.”

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells thanked all outgoing members for their contributions and said she was particularly looking forward to the insights gained from James Carey who lives in an aged care home to gain realistic insights into the services provided.

“Council members represent a diverse range of perspectives, which is critical to ensuring government hears the voices of diverse communities and regional and remote older people as we reform aged care,” she said. 

Appointed members are geographically and demographically diverse, ensuring the voices of a wide range of older people can be heard through the Council.

For more information, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website here

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