Two fresh Social Services Ministers have been announced and now sworn in by newly appointed Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, marking the fifth reshuffle in five years.
Paul Fletcher has been sworn in to replace Dan Tehan as the Minister of Families and Social Services, while Sarah Henderson has taken over from Jane Prentice as Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services in what will be her first ministerial role.
“Mr Fletcher is enormously qualified to take on this Cabinet position to ensure Australians have continued access to an affordable and sustainable safety net,” Mr Morrison says.
The Ministers took to Twitter to express their excitement and honour in serving their new roles.
“I am honoured to have been appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Families and Social Services in the Morrison Government - a vitally important portfolio which serves millions of Australians,” Mr Fletcher says.
“I’m honoured to be appointed Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services in Scott Morrison’s new generation team. I am looking forward to hitting the ground running in this important role,” Ms Henderson says.
Both Ministers were warmly welcomed by disability advocates.
“[Fletcher] has a great background in the issues to do with cities and urban infrastructure, so we will be raising the need for more accessible transport, as well as accessible and affordable housing for people with disability,” Co-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), Matthew Bowden says.
Mr Fletcher’s leadership will play an important role in the upcoming renewal of the National Disability Strategy.
“Sending congrats to new Minister for Social Services Paul Fletcher and Assistant Minister Sarah Henderson - and letting both know we are ready to roll up our sleeves and help get the NDIS back on track,” Every Australian Counts says.
"Congratulations Paul Fletcher on being sworn in as Minister for Families and Social Services in the Morrison Government. All of us here at AFDO are looking forward to working with you to improve the lives of people with disability in Australia," CEO of Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) Ross Joyce says.
Previous Ministers Dan Tehan and Jane Prentice were also acknowledged.
“Minister Prentice was in the position for a number of years, so I want to thank her. And we also hope Mr Tehan takes his experience in disability into his new portfolio,” Every Australian Counts Campaign Director Kirsten Deane says.
“I think the Ministers should prioritise listening to people with disabilities, listening to family members and listening to people who work in the sector, because these are the people who know what the problems are and what solutions are going to work best.”
CEO of National Disability Services Dr Ken Baker says he is looking forward to working through key disability issues with the new Ministers.
“We’ll continue to seek resolution on key issues that could result in market failure for disability services, which concern capped pricing limitations, workforce shortages and much-needed improvement of operation systems to be working smoothly to support the delivery of NDIS service,” he says.
Ms Henderson has already stated her intention to “be a strong and compassionate voice for all Australians who need both disability services or support with housing.”
“The responsibilities I have in this role are obviously very significant and I want to make sure that all Australians know that as a member of the Morrison Government I will be working very hard,” she says.
“I’ll be reaching out to [disability service] providers and of course to participants and their families.”
“It’s wonderful to hear how Sarah Henderson MP will fight for all those who are trying to access [the] National Disability Insurance Scheme,” AFDO tweeted.
Dan Tehan will now become the Minister for Education.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au