Statement from Warrigal CEO Mark Sewell on the release of the final report of the Royal Commission


Monday, 1 March 2021

Warrigal has welcomed the release of the Royal Commissioner’s Final Report with its 148 recommendations and extends their appreciation to the Commissioners and their teams for what they have brought to this enormous task.

The report will now be a historic turning point in the rebuild of community trust in the important services that the aged care industry provide to the oldest people in Australia.

The Government is required to give a response by May this year and will need to consider all the recommendations the Royal Commission has made, and there is widespread hope that from this a more sustainable aged care system that allows everyone to live out their lives with respect and dignity can be built.

The stories and events that were told before the Commission were not easy to hear but they were necessary. Neglect and harm is completely unacceptable and the Commission has now written a report that could potentially right the whole system. 20 previous reports over the past 20 years have not been fully implemented by various governments so this huge report will require a very large investment to be implemented.

We are hoping for a strong moral response from the government to this report so that we can implement some of the minimum staffing levels that this report recommends. There are lots of recommendations in the report that providers can implement too so we also acknowledge that providers need to be accountable too for better services.

Our senior Australians are among our greatest treasures, and they deserve the highest quality aged care possible from Governments at all levels and from all organisations that provide accommodation, services or support.

Warrigal will immediately take steps to address the matters that are referred to in the report, and will immediately set up a high-level taskforce to examine the whole report and adopt as many of the recommendations as we can at Warrigal. We will:

  • Immediately engage and work with others such as NSW Health to ensure clinically sound practice happens at every service location
  • Rapidly expand our home services this year to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of older people who want to stay at home
  • Improve our workforce selection and induction processes to make sure all new staff know what they need to know and become experts ASAP
  • Transparently report all our staff levels and ratios and all our quality care outcomes so that everyone knows what happens at every service and every location at Warrigal
  • Review our Board and Management Teams in line with the minimum standards in the Royal Commission report.

Community trust is built on transparency and Warrigal is committed more than ever to making these changes to ensure our older people come first always.

Warrigal knows that there are a lot of important issues to address. We will be implementing all the things that we can, and we feel hopeful that the Government will treat this report seriously. There may be a lot of improvement coming for everyone in the sector.

Warrigal looks forward to the year ahead, an election year, which promises to be our best opportunity to achieve the significant reform our sector needs.

Warrigal sees this time as an opportunity for all of us to focus on the future needs of older people in Australia.


Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations | M +61 (4) 3665 5808

Warrigal Stirling among the first aged care homes in Australia to get the jab

 Stock image

Warrigal Stirling will be one of thirteen aged care facilities across nine identified Canberra suburbs to receive the Pfizer vaccine as part of the national roll-out beginning Monday, as announced yesterday by Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell has welcomed the news stating, “We knew the vaccine was coming and we are very pleased that older people and frontline care staff are given top priority for the first vaccine available.”

“Even though the rush in the first week to vaccinate the people that live and work in over 200 aged care homes is creating quite a scramble, this announcement delivers on that promise and we warmly welcome it.”, Mr Sewell said.

Warrigal has been working with staff, residents and their families to ensure an effective implementation within the short timeframes required are in place.

Mr Sewell said, “We sincerely apologise to any families that feel rushed when asked to urgently consider their loved one’s needs and to give formal consent to receive the vaccine.”

Since the pandemic began in 2020, Warrigal has been focused on protecting its community from COVID-19, updating outbreak preparedness plans and taking many other serious protective actions under the guidelines and direction of ACT Health and the Public Health Department and will continue to follow any future advice on vaccination.

“We encourage all our residents and staff to get vaccinated and to take advantage of the Government’s free COVID-19 vaccination program. Aged care staff will be monitoring every single person who receives the vaccine very carefully and making sure they are well and achieve the maximum benefit from this extraordinary global project that has now begun in Australia” Mr Sewell said.

Warrigal Stirling’s vaccinations will take place on-site on Wednesday, 24 Feb 2021 from 8am.


Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations | M +61 (4) 3665 5808

Warrigal welcomes news of early COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

An announcement made by the Australian Government with plans to bring forward the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to February 2021 has been welcomed by Warrigal, along with news that aged care staff and residents are priorities for early access to the vaccine.

The decision on whether the vaccination will be made mandatory for aged care employees now rests with State/Territory Governments as part of their public health orders, as is the case for flu vaccinations. 

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell, said Warrigal strongly supports Aged and Community Services Australia’s (ACSA) position that it should be at least strongly recommended, if not a requirement, for all employees and residents to receive the vaccination.

“Whether the vaccine should be compulsory for aged care residents and workers is a question for the Government to address, but we must remember that older people are the most at risk in our communities and that they are supported by workers who are the front line in this pandemic.

Aged care workers have a role to play in supporting these public health programs to ensure that they, and those they care for, are vaccinated.” Mr Sewell said.

Since March 2020, Warrigal has been focused on protecting its community from COVID-19, updating outbreak preparedness plans and taking many other serious protective actions under the guidelines and direction of NSW Health and the Public Health Department and will continue to follow any future advice on vaccination. 

The safety of our residents, customers, families and staff remains our utmost priority and we will continue to review our procedures and take strong action as needed to ensure we keep them safe.”

“We do acknowledge that vaccination alone will not guarantee our residents and staff will be safe from COVID-19, but continued practice of other prevention and control measures such as the use of PPE, and prevention measures by the community, for example not visiting homes if at all unwell will help to keep residents and staff safe from COVID-19.” said Mr Sewell.

The rollout of a national vaccination program requires significant planning and logistics. The current plan is for the Commonwealth to manage nationally the vaccinations of residents in residential aged care. Warrigal is interested to learn what the protocols and plans are and will communicate new developments as more information becomes available.


Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations | M +61 (4) 3665 5808


Aged Care Visitor Limits Ease Before the Festive Season Arrives

Warrigal welcomes the NSW revised public health order that makes visiting an age care home in NSW much easier from today.

Under the changes, more people will be able to visit their loved ones in an aged care home, with the two-visitor rule now removed.

The need for influenza vaccinations for people providing care and support visits at aged care homes has also been eased, but temperature screening, contact tracing and social distancing is still mandatory.

Warrigal is confident that relatives coming to visit will feel relieved that not only have their loved ones been kept safe during this global pandemic but that they can now enjoy social connection and time together during the festive season.

Whilst older people are still the most vulnerable Australians to the COVID-19 virus, and the pandemic is still raging out of control in many places in the world, there are very low rates of community transmissions in NSW which have led to the easing of restrictions, even for frail, older people.

The safety of Warrigal’s residents/customers, villagers and staff remain of utmost importance. Even with restrictions easing and borders opening up, Warrigal would like to reiterate that there is no room for complacency. More than 27,000 Australians have contracted the virus and more than 900 have died. The key to keeping safe in the months ahead is to keep practicing social distancing and ensuring testing takes place if any symptoms arise.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell would like to thank everyone for doing the right thing on behalf of the community, which has led to one of the world’s safest places from COVID-19.

“I would like to thank all frontline workers especially our own frontline aged care staff for diligently working hard, day in and day out, 24/7 this year to keep so many older people safe.”

“On behalf of Warrigal, our thanks also go to grocery store workers, health and hospital workers and many other people who have delivered essential frontline services during this extraordinary year like no other.”

“We hope and pray that Christmas will be a joyous relief from a very difficult year and refresh us all for the ongoing “COVID19-normal” safety strategies that we will need to apply in 2021.”


Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia, Community Relations | M+61 (4) 3665 5808


Warrigal Now Calls Canberra Home

Warrigal has expanded into Canberra and will today assume responsibility for the previously owned Bupa Aged Care Homes in Calwell and Stirling.

With a long, proud history as a not-for-profit offering community- based services including aged care, retirement living and home care services, Warrigal look forward to having an increased community presence in Canberra and to be able to reach more older people and to support them to have great lives.

Celebrations are being held at both Care Homes to mark the significant event in Warrigal’s history and also to welcome both the managers, staff, residents and families of these homes to the Warrigal family.

Warrigal’s CEO Mark Sewell says, “We have been working closely with the staff at Bupa over recent months to ensure the smooth transition to Warrigal. We welcome the staff and residents and look forward to building these relationships and to continue our commitment to older people in Canberra and surrounding areas.”

Phil Mackney Regional Operations Director, Northern Region Bupa Aged Care said, “We have worked extremely closely with Warrigal to ensure a smooth transition for all residents and employees at Stirling and Calwell. Both homes are fantastic communities that provide high quality care and we wish them well under their new owners.”

Warrigal’s newest Aged Care Home at Queanbeyan is in close proximity and existing staff will offer support to the additional homes. Staff at both Stirling and Calwell will remain the same as will the level of care offered to residents and their families.

All staff jobs are secure and residents and families will continue to receive communications to ensure that their experience with Warrigal is a positive one, in conjunction with Warrigal’s vision of ensuring that older people have great lives.

The homes will now be officially known as Warrigal Stirling and Warrigal Calwell.


Media Opportunity:                       

11.30am Tuesday 1st December 2020 at Warrigal Calwell

43 Were Street Calwell

Warrigal Media Enquiries:            Carolyn Dews, 0455086556

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