Richard Colbeck 'missing' at 'critical' time, says union

IN TOKYO: Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck speaking during a press conference for International Olympic Committee in Tokyo. Picture: Kyle Terada/AAP
IN TOKYO: Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck speaking during a press conference for International Olympic Committee in Tokyo. Picture: Kyle Terada/AAP

Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck going "missing" while residents at Tasmanian aged care home are speaking out against conditions has been called into question.

However, a spokesman for the minister said the Tasmanian senator had been "constantly engaged with the aged care sector" while in Tokyo for the Olympics in his capacity as Sports Minister.

Health and Community Services Union state secretary Tim Jacobson said the trip was at a "critical time" for the aged care sector.

"It is a bit of a theme with the government that when times are tough the relevant ministers or the Prime Minister goes missing," he said.

"We have outbreaks in Victoria and NSW with more COVID spreading in aged care and the minister goes missing.

"The minister has gone missing at a critical time for aged care given the announcements of mandatory vaccines for staff."

Senator Colbeck was chosen by the Prime Minister to travel to Tokyo as a representative of the Australian Government at the Olympic Games in support of the bid process for Brisbane to host the Games in 2032.

A spokesman for the minister said he had been in "direct contact with providers and stakeholder groups as we continue to navigate the impact of the pandemic".

"The health and well-being of residents is a priority," they said. "The minister has been in direct contact with Southern Cross Care in relation to the issues that have been raised at Yaraandoo.

"He has also been guided by the advice of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission which has conducted unannounced visits."

This story Aged care minister's Tokyo trip defended first appeared on The Advocate.