In a move to address the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Ms Andrea Kelly, a highly respected First Nations leader, has been appointed as the interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner.
The appointment, effective January 2024, marks a crucial step towards Recommendation 49, advocating for a statutory First Nations Aged Care Commissioner to ensure culturally safe and tailored aged care services for Indigenous communities.
Ms Kelly, a proud Warumungu and Larrakia woman with 32 years of experience in engaging with First Nations communities and strong family connections throughout the Northern Territory, will lead public consultations and contribute to systemic changes aimed at improving aged care for Indigenous Australians.
Commenting on the appointment, Lisa Orcher, CEO of NATSIAACC, the peak body representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and older people, communities and organisations,
“Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders are the glue within many of our communities, and they have laid the groundwork for much of the progress being made today. But there are many, many barriers that are stopping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from accessing aged care, or from receiving appropriate care if they do manage to achieve access,” said Ms Orcher.
Her role encompasses advocating for culturally safe services across Australia, aligning with the principles of Closing the Gap.
The interim appointment is designed to expedite the process of hearing the needs of First Nations people and shaping the permanent Commissioner’s role.
Ms Kelly’s background includes a senior role at the National Indigenous Australians Agency, along with her leadership in establishing the Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme.
The permanent First Nations Aged Care Commissioner is anticipated to be appointed in 2025.