Aged Care Minister pledges to release reports into COVID outbreaks at St Basil’s and Heritage Care’s Epping Gardens before Christmas – confirms he wants to stay in portfolio

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As we reported here last week, Labor has been pushing the Government to release the independent reports which were completed in November and were due to be released on 30 November (three weeks ago).

St. Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner and Heritage Care’s Epping Gardens facility recorded 45 and 38 resident deaths during Victoria’s second wave respectively.

The reports were conducted by Professor Lyn Gilbert and Adjunct Professor Alan Lilly who are both members of the Government’s Aged Care Advisory Group.

Senator Richard Colbeck told media that the reports – which cost $211,778 according to the Federal Government’s tenders website – will be publicly available by Christmas – just a week away – and had been delayed due to some “procedural fairness issues” and the need to run their findings by stakeholders first.

He added that the two aged care homes remained under “close scrutiny” by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC).

Minister Colbeck – who is also the Minister for Youth and Sport – also confirmed yet again that he wants to retain the aged care portfolio despite facing criticism throughout the year for the Morrison Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in aged care.

“I will not publicly discuss my private conversations with the Prime Minister but I have indicated publicly that I am keen to continue the role that I am undertaking,” he said.

“The Prime Minister will announce the new ministry at a time of his choosing and I look forward to that process occurring.”