The State Government’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA) – which advises on retirement living and aged care – is now reportedly under review after the recently appointed NSW Seniors Minister Mark Coure (pictured right) raised concerns the Council was ‘stacked’ with Liberal Party allies under its previous head.
The Australian reported last week that the previous Minister Natalie Ward – who held the position for seven months – replaced several members of the Council with Liberal supporters before NSW Premier Dominic Perottet (pictured left) reshuffled his Cabinet in December 2021.
MACA, chaired by former chair of the NSW’s Inquiry into the NSW Retirement Village Sector and former Retirement Village Ambassador Kathryn Greiner, was set up to provide advice to the State Government on the needs of older people in NSW.
Ms Greiner’s term as Ambassador ended at the end of 2020 and the program has yet to resume.
The questionable Liberal appointments allegedly include Waverley Liberal councillor Sally Betts, Deputy Mayor of Ku-ring-gai Barbara Ward, and Tony Virtue, a financial planner and president of the Liberal Party’s Manly Business Branch – none of whom are listed on MACA’s membership page.
The newspaper reports that Mr Coure was “livid” at some of the appointments, which were approved by the Cabinet, and is now looking at expanding the board to re-appoint its previous members.
“I will ensure as Minister for Seniors that we have the best ministerial advisory council on ageing to offer me frank and full advice on how we improve the lives of seniors across NSW,” Mr Coure told The Australian.
But Ms Ward has denied that the new members did not have the required skills and said existing members of the Council had already served at least twice.
“Appointments … are always made on merit, with each person chosen for their strong and diverse backgrounds in ageing and seniors,” she said. “Ms Barbara Ward and Ms Sally Betts both bring a wealth of experience and skills and will undoubtedly be strong additions to the (council).”
Watch this space then.