Two of the nation’s most influential aged care provider peak bodies are merging in order to ‘design and implement a new way of working that better represents and supports all providers of aged care services’.
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) have agreed to work together and other provider groups (such as the Aged Care Reform Network), to deliver better outcomes for the older Australians they care for and support.
The model will be based on the recommendations of KPMG Australia, which was appointed by the steering committee of the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) to analyse best-practice representation and development models.
In a joint statement, the LASA and ACSA boards said that maintaining the status quo was simply not an option.
“We do not believe one voice is achieved by ignoring our differences, but rather by creating a conductor role for any new entity which will coordinate the diverse choir of our various members,” the statement read.
“In preparation for receipt of the KPMG project’s final report, and the journey ahead, ACSA and LASA are mobilising staff and resources.
“This will ensure that the process of detailed consultation, engagement and design that lies ahead will be well planned and resourced.
“It will also ensure that the high standards of advocacy and support for our members will continue whilst this process is underway.
ACSA and LASA said they will be in a position to make a formal sector representation and development model recommendation to their respective members by March 2022 or shortly thereafter.
“At that point, should members endorse the proposal, we envisage a transition process to the agreed new model would formally proceed, all the while ACSA and LASA will continue to maintain high standards of representation and support for all members,” the statement read.
The AACC said in a statement that it is conscious of the immense challenges facing the sector post the Aged Care Royal Commission.
“We are also cognisant of the Royal Commissioners’ challenge for representatives of the aged care sector to lead reform in a coordinated manner,” it said.
“The AACC commits to working with ACSA and LASA members and all other aged care providers to realise the promise of this moment.
“We intend to grasp this ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to achieve a better aged care system that is rights based, and truly person centred.”
Louise O’Neill, CEO of the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council, heartily endorsed the new single entity.
“The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council welcomes the recent announcement by the leaders of ACSA and LASA, on their plan to work collaboratively with all key provider groups to create a single representative peak body for aged care providers,” she said.
“Strong governance and coordinated leadership is vital to support positive outcomes for the aged care workforce and the sector more broadly during this period of rapid structural change.
“We look forward to working with the new entity to continue the reform and growth of Australia’s aged care workforce.”
ACSA & LASA shared principles and desired outcomes:
1. Represent whole of the aged care sector including residential care, home care packages and Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services as well as related seniors housing/retirement village programs as required.
2. Advocate for a rich and essential diversity of service providers, especially those who serve vulnerable communities or the needs of specific groups or geographies within the Australian community
3. Support diversity of specialist services and improved access to mainstream services across Regional, Rural and Remote, Culturally and Linguistic Diverse communities, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders, homeless, etc.
4. Maximize one voice advocacy capacity by setting the aged care agenda proactively and responding effectively to Government Five Pillars reforms.
5. Maintain existing and establish new strong relationships with federal, state and territory governments, other provider peaks (e.g. CHSP, disability, health), consumer peaks, and existing (National Aged Care Alliance) or new sector alliances.
6. Minimize membership fees especially for smaller members through achieving efficiencies, while ensuring effectiveness including by expanding core advocacy and member support and advice capacity (e.g. through additional research capacity).
7. Provide enhanced member support services such as training, events, consultancy, IR, payroll largely on a pay as you go basis (allowing for member discounts or subsidization of smaller organisations)