Council of Elders on aged care

Council of Elders – a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was announced today.


The Council of Elders will be led by inaugural Chair Ian Yates AM, who will also sit on the new National Aged Care Advisory Council.


Mr Yates will ensure that advice is provided to the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, and the Department of Health.


The Council of Elders 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.


Members include 2021 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, dementia advocate Gwenda Darling, writer and carer Danijela Hlis, Age Discrimination Commissioner Kay Patterson AO, and indigenous campaigner Professor Tom Calma AO.


Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said Council members have 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.


“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 to build community awareness of ageing and aged care matters,” Mr Hunt said.


Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck said over 130 high calibre senior Australians had nominated to be part of the council.


“We carefully reviewed every nomination, and each person would have made a positive difference as a council member,” Mr Colbeck said.


“I thank every person for their nomination and have invited them to contribute their diverse experience and expertise in other ways.”


Mr Yates, CEO of Council of the Ageing, said it was an honour and privilege to serve alongside such experienced members.


“This is an exciting initiative that we have not had before,” Mr Yates 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.”


Mr Colbeck said the new National Aged Care Advisory Council and the Council of Elders were part of the government’s $18.3 billion reform package being delivered over the next five years.


Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) Chief Executive Officer Craig Gear welcomed the appointment of the council.


“We are excited by the announcement of the inaugural members of Australia’s first Council of Elders,” Mr Gear said. “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.


“Importantly, we are pleased with the inclusion of a number of older people with lived experience of aged care to guide the transformation of aged care for themselves and the people they care for”


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


For more information on the Council of Elders and its members see


Council of Elders members:



Mr Ian Yates AM – Chair

CEO of Council of the Ageing Australia, and senior Australians and aged care advocate

Dr Michael Barbato OAM

Rural doctor and palliative care specialist

Professor Tom Calma AO

Health, mental health and Indigenous affairs academic

Ms Gwenda Darling

Dementia advocate

Ms Val Fell

Aged care and dementia advocate

Ms Gillian Groom AO

Occupational therapist and elder law expert

Ms Danijela Hlis

Author and dementia carer

Mr Bill Jolley

Advisor on disability issues and vision loss

Professor Gill Lewin

Health, ageing and aged care researcher

Professor John McCallum

CEO of National Seniors Australia, ageing policy researcher and activist

Ms Sue McCann

Aged care leader of end to end facility management

Dr Kay Patterson AO

Age Discrimination Commissioner

Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM

2021 Senior Australian of the Year, activist, education leader and artist

Ms Margaret Walsh OAM

Nurse and manager of a disability organisation and an aged care organisation.


24 December 2021.