News Politics Aged care elevated to top levels of federal government following deadly pandemic

Aged care elevated to top levels of federal government following deadly pandemic

richard colbeck
Richard Colbeck is under fire over the more than 500 deaths in aged care since the Omicron wave began. Photo: ABC News/ Ian Cutmore
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Responsibility for the aged care sector will be elevated to the top levels of the federal government in the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and scathing reviews of the sector.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the change as part of a minor ministerial reshuffle following the departure of former finance minister Mathias Cormann.

Health Minister Greg Hunt will add aged care to his responsibilities, with Richard Colbeck, who has held the portfolio, being responsible for senior Australians and aged care services.

Regional Victorian Dan Tehan will become the Trade Minister and Alan Tudge replaces him in the education portfolio.

Former trade minister Simon Birmingham took on the finance portfolio following Mr Cormann’s departure.

Most of the other Cabinet positions remain unchanged, with six women and four Nationals.

Dan Tehan represents a regional Victorian community that relies on agricultural trade. Photo: ABC News/Matt Roberts

Mr Tehan is a former diplomat, turned trade advisor to former a politician who held the role he’s now taking over.

He comes to the portfolio just days after Australia announced it would take China to the World Trade Organisation over a barley dispute.

Australian beef, wine, coal, lobsters, cotton and timber exports have all fallen victim to Chinese import tariffs this year, introduced in the wake of Australia calling for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan.

Nationals had hoped their party would reclaim the trade portfolio, having held it in Government prior to the Coalition’s victory in 2013.

“They can have trade but we’ll take agriculture,” a senior Liberal offered in response to the Nationals’ push.

Some Nationals had hoped Anne Ruston, a senator originally from regional South Australia, might take on trade if the portfolio stayed with the Liberals, but she’s retained the social services portfolio.