Catholic Health Australia has welcomed the announcement of ministers in its two areas of particular interest: Tanya Plibersek taking over the health portfolio and the retention of Minister for Ageing Mark Butler, but now with a seat around the Cabinet table. "Minister Plibersek is someone Catholic Health Australia has had a strong working relationship with over recent years," CHA chief executive Martin Laverty said. "She has shown a strong commitment to social justice and recognises the need to address the social determinants of health as Australia seeks to find the best use of health dollars that are always too few to meet the country's health needs.

Catholic Health Australia also commended Prime Minister Julia Gillard on bringing the Minister for Ageing to the Cabinet table.

"The elevation of this portfolio by the Prime Minister reflects the increased interest in and importance of aged care moving into the future," Mr Laverty said. "The number of older Australians as a proportion of the population is going to increase dramatically in the next 20 or 30 years and Ms Gillard's move today shows she recognises that."

The expanded workload of Mr Butler is also a good omen for aged care reform, Mr Laverty added.

"The fact that Minister Butler is also now in charge of the social inclusion portfolio is another positive aspect of today's reshuffle. Older Australians are often some of the people who suffer most from social exclusion, so having these two areas so closely linked is pleasing.

"Today's changes to the Cabinet have laid the foundation for what looks set to be an important year - for aged care reform, in particular - in 2012. We look forward to continuing our close and cordial relationship with Minister Butler as the Productivity Commission's proposed reforms of the sector continue to be considered," Mr Laverty concluded.

Mr Laverty also recognised the significant contribution outgoing Health Minister Nicola Roxon made in that portfolio over the past four years and wished her well in her new role as Attorney-General.

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