I’m honoured to be appointed as Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, especially at this critical time as Australia grapples with a once in a century pandemic and a crisis in aged care.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, my friend Chris Bowen has worked constructively with the Government to put the health of Australians first, while pointing out clearly where the Government could do better. Chris’ approach to the pandemic has been the right one, I intend to continue this approach.
As Ageing Minister in the Gillard Government we invested almost $4 billion in new arrangements for the aged care sector under the Living Longer Living Better package. It focused on better services for dementia, and building a home care service that, under Scott Morrison’s Government, has been severely neglected.
It’s been two years since the Royal Commission said the first thing the Government needed to do was fix the home care waitlist. Two years on and there are still over 100,000 older Australians waiting for home care for which they’ve been approved. Julie Collins has tirelessly advocated for senior Australians and I intend to do the same.
I thank everyone I’ve worked with over my almost eight years in the climate change and energy portfolio – business, unions, environmental groups and the many Australians who are committed to preserving a safe climate for their children and embracing the job opportunities of clean energy.
Scott Morrison and his Government are as isolated and divided as ever on climate change. I’ve worked closely with Chris Bowen for many years on climate policy and know he’ll do a magnificent job in the portfolio.