Last Thursday Sen Richard Colbeck, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, gave a 30-minute speech at the Health Metrics 2019 conference in Melbourne, one of his first large public engagements.
Appointed to the portfolio just three months ago almost to the day, he opened by stating that “This is the ultimate people portfolio. It is all about the people”.
While he had notes, he did not refer to them but instead spoke openly, referring to the Royal Commission. He said “It (the Royal Commission) is also creating a risk of the perception of a sector we do not need”, referring to the media coverage.
It is important “to come out the other end not with a negative perception. I am prepared to play my role in that”.
“We are still learning a lot about management, still learning a lot about care”.
“The culture is extremely important”.
“The tools we have and innovations – we are still discovering”.
“There is so much data out there, but we don’t utilise it. My question is how do we collected and how do we utilise it?”
“Obviously it will take investment by government, but it will also require innovation”.
“The next months will see significant change largely driven by the Royal Commission”.
“We need to make brave political decisions and make them early in the process”.
At the same forum, Sean Rooney, LASA CEO, warned of the inconvenient truths of ageing and aged care in Australia today:
“that unless the Government takes urgent action to address these financial pressures the first impact will be directly on older Australians in care and will also likely result in the withdrawal of services, job losses and further reductions of investment in services and infrastructure”
Senator Colbeck’s speech indicated he understood.