The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) today welcomed the appointment of the Hon Mark Butler MP as the new Minister for Health and Aged Care and the Hon Ged Kearney MP as the new Assistant Minister.
“I am very pleased to congratulate Mark Butler, and likewise Ged Kearney – who as a former nurse and co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Nursing will bring a unique and exciting perspective to her portfolio,” ACN acting CEO Yvonne McKinlay FACN, said.
“Mr Butler and Ms Kearney are long-standing friends of ACN, and we have deeply valued their ongoing support for Australia’s nurses.
“Both took time to speak at the ACN Policy Summit held in March and shared with our membership their commitment to working with us in the event of a Labor victory.”
ACN also extended best wishes to the Hon Anika Wells MP, as the Minister for Aged Care; the Hon Emma McBride MP, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Rural and Regional Health; and Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health.
“The Labor government is inheriting a health system under significant stress due to chronic under-funding, workforce shortages and the rising demand for care,” Ms McKinlay noted.
“Nurses have been on the front lines of the Covid-19 battle, working to bring an end to the pandemic by caring for the sick and helping to vaccinate our population. Our profession is overworked, stressed, and exhausted.”
As the professional voice and the largest provider of Graduate Certificates in Australia for nurses, ACN welcomes the opportunity to advise the government on the importance of including nurse leadership at the centre of any health care reforms.
Ms McKinlay also confirmed that a multi-pronged approach is still required to address workforce shortages and ensure the new government meets its pledge to have registered nurses present in residential aged care facilities at all times.
“ACN has been a consistent champion of guaranteeing our vulnerable communities have access to highly trained nurses across all levels of care. However, achieving this goal will not be easy and requires innovative policies that are informed and led by nurses,” Ms McKinlay continued.
During the election campaign, ACN listed several proposals as priorities for the incoming government, including more visas for internationally trained nurses, greater health and wellbeing support for the workforce, refresher courses for enrolled and registered nurses, and further funding for education and scholarships.
“I look forward to working with Mr Butler and his team to progress these much-needed initiatives over the next three years. Now is the time to champion bold reform, and ACN and our membership are ready to play our part.
“I would also like to take a final opportunity to acknowledge the willingness of the previous government to engage with ACN. I remain grateful that our organisation continues to enjoy such bipartisan support for its work,” Ms McKinlay concluded.