Aged Care Workforce Industry Council appoints Department of Health executive as inaugural CEO

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Australian Unity’s CEO of Independent and Assisted Living and Acting Chair of the Workforce Industry Council, Kevin McCoy, had told us that an appointment was imminent – and now we have a name.

Louise O’Neill will be charged with steering the delivery of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy – ‘A Matter of Care’ – for the next three years starting from 6 July.

Ms O’Neill has over 18 years’ experience in the Australian public sector, working across disability, aged care, health, Indigenous and communications portfolios.

Since April, she has been heading up stakeholder management as part of the Department of Health’s COVID-19 National Incident Room.

Prior to this, Ms O’Neill spent over four years with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) managing various divisions including its governance and parliamentary services.

The executive has also held roles as the Assistant Secretary for the Ageing and Sector Support Branch at the Department of Health and acted as a Branch Manager in the Department of Social Services (DSS) including as the Minister’s advisor on ageing and aged care.

Her appointment appears to be a clear message that – as Mr McCoy promised – the Workforce Council will be looking to drive aged care policy reform – with the support of the sector.

“The role of the CEO is pivotal to the ability of the Council to implement a program of change,” he said.

“The position is essential in setting the Council up to develop strategies that align with Council’s vision and goals, overseeing operational and financial performance and enabling effective liaison and engagement with key stakeholders.

Ms O’Neill will have her work cut out.

Work is already underway in progressing the 14 Strategic Actions of the Workforce Strategy with the Voluntary Industry Code of Practice due to be released in September.

The Council is also planning the first industry workforce study, conducted in collaboration with the Department of Health and Best Practice Australia.

Watch this space then.