Nominations are open for members of Australia's first-ever Council of Elders - a panel of representatives charged with providing advice and feedback on aged care issues around the country.
In another important response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the council will be established as part of the Morrison Government's comprehensive $17.7 billion reinforcement of the sector.
It comes as Australia today (October 1) marks the inaugural Ageism Awareness Day and the United Nation's International Day of Older Persons.
Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt and Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck said in keeping with both awareness initiatives, the Council of Elders will ensure older Australians and the issues they face are at the heart of Australia's generational reforms.
"Our aged care reforms are all about providing respect, care and dignity to senior Australians, and we want to ensure the voices of those senior Australians are heard at the highest levels in this process," Mr Hunt said.
"The Council of Elders will have about 10 members appointed from nominations right across Australia, including rural, regional and remote areas."
Successful nominees will represent the diverse life experiences and characteristics of senior Australians and bring the views and perspectives of others to the table.
"The Council of Elders will be consumer focused," Mr Hunt said. "Its members will be independent of government and must not be affiliated with aged care service providers."
Council members will have a lived understanding of aged care and must be able to engage with their community, the Government and ministers on aged care reforms.
Mr Colbeck said in addition to public nominations, interest had also been sought from peak bodies and community organisations representing senior Australians.
"Council of Elders members are expected to represent the views of older Australians, so they will remain independent of any of the organisations that may put their name forward," Mr Colbeck said.
"The guidance and feedback from council members will help keep us on track as the Morrison Government continues to work closely with aged care stakeholders and providers on a path to offering higher-quality individual needs-based care."
The Council of Elders will provide advice to the Health and Aged Care Minister and the Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Minister, and also to the National Aged Care Advisory Council (NACAC) which is also being established under the aged care reforms.
The Council of Elders chair will also have a seat on the NACAC to directly share the perspective of senior Australians with this group.
The nomination process will close October 15, with the membership of the Council of Elders to be announced later this year.