Inaugural Council of Elders members announced

Council of Elders gives voice to senior Australians

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EXCITING INITIATIVE: Ian Yates will chair the inaugural Council of Elders

EXCITING INITIATIVE: Ian Yates will chair the inaugural Council of Elders


Council gives senior Australians a voice direct to government


Australia's inaugural 14 member Council of Elders has been announced.

Led by chairman Ian Yates, the Council will engage widely on many aspects of aged care from the perspective of the quality and safety of care and the rights and dignity of older people. Mr Yates is also chief executive of Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia.

The creation of a Council of Elders was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Mr Yates, who also sits on the new National Aged Care Advisory Council said it was an honour and privilege to serve alongside such experienced members.

"This is an exciting initiative that we have not had before," he said. "Having a voice of senior Australians direct to Government will be key to ensure the reforms from the royal commission continue to have the voice of those that experience the system at their centre."

Council members, all appointed for two-year terms, will provide advice to government, coordinate feedback from senior Australians and their families and communities, and help build community awareness of ageing and aged care matters,

Members include 2021 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, dementia advocate Gwenda Darling, writer and carer Danijela Hlis, Age Discrimination Commissioner Kay Patterson, Indigenous campaigner Professor Tom Calma, Dr Michael Barbato, Val Fell, Gillian Groom, Bill Jolley, Gill Lewin, Professor John McCallum, Sue McCann and Margaret Walsh.

Health and Aged Care minister, Greg Hunt said Council members had strong expertise, diverse backgrounds and lived experience that would help ensure aged care meets the needs and expectations of senior Australians, their families and carers, and the Australian community.

The announcement has been welcomed by seniors groups. Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) Chief Executive Officer Craig Gear said,"We are excited by the announcement of the inaugural members of Australia's first Council of Elders. Older people have been telling us for a long time that there should be 'nothing about us without us' and the Council of Elders is a good step along this journey which will help inform aged care reform from their perspective.

Visit the Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub to read about the reforms and to participate in engagement activities, here.

More information on the Council of Elders and its members here.