MEDIA RELEASE: COTA welcomes appointment of key Ministers for older Australians

COTA Australia, the peak advocacy body for millions of older Australians, has welcomed the reappointment of Greg Hunt as Minister for Health and the reappointment of Ken Wyatt AM as Minister for Aged Care with the broader remit of being Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said that both Ministers have been closely involved in the increased and constructive focus on older Australians in the Government’s More Choices for a Longer Life package in the May Federal Budget, with which COTA was closely involved and strongly supports.

“We welcome the broadening of Minister Wyatt’s portfolio to include “Senior Australians” and the Prime Minister’s declaration the task will focus on ‘quality of life challenges and their cost of living pressures’. COTA is eager to develop this renewed focus with the Minister and department.”

Mr Yates said COTA also welcomed the reappointment of Minister Greg Hunt, who has championed major developments in the More Choices for a Longer Life package, including better mental health services for older Australians, especially residents of aged care facilities, and the government’s commitment to putting residential aged care funding in the hands of consumers.

“Putting control of residential care in the hands of residents and their families is a game changer as it allows older Australians to choose high quality providers over poor providers. Prime Minister Morrison understood this when as Treasurer he supported commitment to it as a key initiative of the More Choices for a Longer Life budget package,” Mr Yates said.

Mr Yates said the former Treasurer and now Prime Minister had also been central to securing the funding of an additional 6,000 high care Home Care Packages delivered in last year’s MYEFO and the 14,000 delivered in the Federal Budget, while agreeing since the Budget that more needs to be done.

“We look forward to working with the Prime Minister and Ministers Hunt and Wyatt in navigating a way through to the increased provision of appropriate aged care to older Australians in coming months,” said Mr Yates.

COTA has also welcomed the appointment of Paul Fletcher as Minister for Families and Social Services, in charge of the Age Pension, the Pension Loans Scheme, Newstart and other key supports for current and future older Australians and looks forward to working with him to deliver and build on the major initiatives in the More Choices for a Longer Life package.

Finally COTA welcomes the appointment of the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Josh Frydenberg, as the new Treasurer, with responsibility for retirement incomes policy, including Comprehensive Income Products for Retirement (CIPRs); and for the expansion of the powers of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to give it the capacity to better protect older Australians from financial abuse by banks and other financial service providers.

“COTA looks forward to working with the new Ministerial team responsible for advancing the wellbeing and interests of older Australians as the Government continues to promote the greater economic contribution and community participation of senior Australians.”

“The More Choices for a Longer Life package must be the beginning of a new approach to an older Australia, not a one-off initiative, and COTA will be working hard to ensure it is developed and expanded.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Ian Yates 0418 835 439        Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280   

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.