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Sunday, July 3, 2022

‘A momentous day for aged care’ as vote passes to confirm LASA and ACSA merger

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Members of Australia’s two most prominent aged care peak bodies, Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), have formally passed the a vote to create a single, unitary organisation to represent aged care providers.

The new organisation will officially come into force from July 1, this year, replacing LASA and ACSA, which have served as representative organisations for private and not-for-profit aged care providers for the last decade.

LASA chair Dr Graeme Blackman, said the decision was a landmark for aged care.

“This decision heralds a new era for Australia’s aged care sector with a single industry
association to provide a strong and united voice, as well as a helping hand, for all providers of aged care services.

”The aged care royal commission recommended greater collaboration and a unified
leadership representing providers of residential care, home and community care and
retirement living for older Australians.

Dr Graeme Blackman, chairman of LASA, says that this new, unitary body will allow providers to better address the royal commission’s call for stronger leadership and fairer governance.

Adjunct Professor Stephen Cornelissen, ACSA chair and outgoing Mercy Health CEO, said the decision meant aged care sector representation can move forward confidently as it advocates on behalf of hundreds of members around Australia to realise RC recommendations.

“We know from the royal commission that the aged care sector faces enormous challenges as it undertakes reform and what is needed is the strongest possible representation to take our sector forward.”

Adjunct Professor Stephen Cornelissen, ACSA Chair, says that a unitary body will allow the strongest possible response to the Royal Commission.

As yet, it remains a mystery as to what will happen to the current peak bodies’ executive teams, including eminent chief executive officers Sean Rooney and Paul Sadler, who lead LASA and ACSA, respectively.

However, Sadler did chime in on Twitter, calling the move a “momentous day for aged care.”

Further details about the new organisation will be announced in the coming weeks.

Upon initially announcing the merger in December 2021, LASA and ACSA — through provider network The Australian Aged Care Collaboration — declared a set of shared values and goals for the new, yet to be finalised organisation:

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).

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