CHA welcomes new Health Minister, praises Ageing portfolio upgrade

14/12/2011

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has welcomed Tanya Plibersek's appointment as Health Minister and the retention of Minister for Ageing Mark Butler, now with a seat at the Cabinet table, as part of the Gillard Government's Cabinet reshuffle this week

“Minister Plibersek is someone Catholic Health Australia has had a strong working relationship with over recent years,” CHA Chief Executive Martin Laverty said.

“She has shown a strong commitment to social justice and recognises the need to address the social determinants of health as Australia seeks to find the best use of health dollars that are always too few to meet the country’s health needs.

CHA also commended Prime Minister Julia Gillard on bringing the Minister for Ageing to the Cabinet table.

“The elevation of this portfolio by the Prime Minister reflects the increased interest in and importance of aged care moving into the future,” Mr Laverty said.

“The number of older Australians as a proportion of the population is going to increase dramatically in the next 20 or 30 years and Ms Gillard’s move today shows she recognises that.”

Mr Laverty said the expanded workload of Mr Butler is also a good omen for aged care reform.

“The fact that Minister Butler is also now in charge of the social inclusion portfolio is another positive aspect of this week’s reshuffle. Older Australians are often some of the people who suffer most from social exclusion, so having these two areas so closely linked is pleasing,” Mr Laverty said.

“The changes to the Cabinet have laid the foundation for what looks set to be an important year – for aged care reform, in particular – in 2012. We look forward to continuing our close and cordial relationship with Minister Butler as the Productivity Commission’s proposed reforms of the sector continue to be considered.”

Mr Laverty also recognised the significant contribution outgoing Health Minister Nicola Roxon made in that portfolio over the past four years and wished her well in her new role as Attorney-General.



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