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Thursday, June 30, 2022

It’s official! LASA and ACSA merge to provide sector with a unified voice and purpose

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In a move that being heralded as a “new era” for Australia’s aged care sector, providers across the country will now be represented by a new, single industry association to be called Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA).

Operational from July 1, ACCPA will represent aged care providers from across the industry — large and small, commercial and not-for-profit — in an effort to lead and influence the sector’s future with a unified voice and purpose.

It follows a call by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety last year, which recommended greater industry collaboration and unified leadership. 

As a result, a Transformation Steering Committee comprising representatives from across the aged care sector was formed, which deliberated for months over the best path forward.

Claerwen Little, national director of UnitingCare Australia, took the reigns as chair of the Transformation Steering Committee.

She says that joining forces was determined as the best way to enable transformational change in the sector.

“We are moving forward with one, united aged care peak body, a body that will represent and support all providers in the aged care sector.

“The process of change started some time ago, and has involved a lot of hard work, deliberation and determination from many people.

“Many have been waiting patiently for this moment to come — and it is finally here.”

Claerwen Little, UnitingCare Australia CEO and ACCPA Steering Committee chair, says the new unified entity will allow for transformational change in the quality of aged care services, be they delivered by private or not-for-profit companies.

She adds that the creation of the ACCPA is indicative of the sector taking accountability and heeding the advice of the royal commission.

“We know that aged care is in crisis. We know that the system is complex and achieving genuine reform is difficult.

“But it is incumbent upon all of us to overcome these challenges and ensure we do everything we can to achieve the best outcomes possible.”

“The time for change is now, and our voice will be stronger than ever.”

Last week, members of Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) voted in favour of the proposal at their respective Special General Meetings, making the proposal to unify official.

A LASA spokesperson declined to comment at this stage as to what this new entity will mean for LASA and ACSA CEO’s, Sean Rooney and Paul Sadler.

However, Sadler took to Twitter to proudly proclaim the beginning of the “new era” for provider advocacy.

A number of focus areas for ACCPA have already been identified, including:

  • Building on the combined resources, experience, expertise and rich history of ACSA, LASA and others by complementing and enhancing each organisations’ strengths;
  • Leading proactive and positive change by providing leadership that assures authoritative guidance, communication, and advocacy;
  • Acting as one voice for influence by uniting the diverse range of aged care providers under one single advocacy agenda;
  • Valuing and representing individual member voices
  • Delivering valued member services by offering an enhanced suite of services at scale;
  • Providing value for money by applying flexible and appropriate membership fees;
  • Proactively partners for change by deepening sector relationships to enhance advocacy.

In principle support for a single representative aged care industry body was first provided by both LASA and ACSA boards in December 2021, following a KPMG report commissioned by the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) and Aged Care Reform Network (ACRN). 

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