Former Carers Australia CEO Ara Cresswell has been appointed the first independent non-executive chair of the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN).

Ara Cresswell

OPAN says Ms Cresswell’s appointment followed a review of the network’s constitution by the board, which comprises directors nominated by the organisation’s nine members, to reflect a more contemporary structure.

“The review also highlighted the need for an Independent, Non-Executive Chair, and today’s announcement responds to that need,” OPAN said in a statement.

OPAN says Ms Cresswell’s appointment is an important step and follows the good work of previous Chairs Mary Anne Hunt and current CEO Craig Gear.

Mr Gear said the appointment of Ms Cresswell to the role was an exciting development for OPAN and the advocacy network across the country.

“Ara is an outstanding person with a wealth of experience in the health care and social services sectors,” Mr Gear said.

“We were seeking candidates that were passionate about OPAN’s work and who had a strong working knowledge of corporate governance systems, and Ara has that in spades.”

Ms Cresswell said she looked forward to working with the board, CEO and team into the future.

“It is a great honour to be appointed to this role, and I really look forward to working … to secure a better future for older Australians.”

Ms Cresswell, who headed Carers Australia between 2011-2019, takes up the appointment on April 1 and chair her first Board meeting on April 27.

OPAN provides information and individual advocacy support to those experiencing issues with aged care services and upholds their rights.

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