In a move that heralds 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, the newly-created 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, unified in 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, tasked with investigating a range of options for change and how best to represent the sector. An option to join forces and create an entirely new organisation was developed. 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.
Chair of the Transformation Steering Committee and UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said the creation of ACCPA provides the opportunity to “speak with one clear, loud voice, and advocate for – and achieve – transformational change”.
“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,” she explained.
“So the sector has stepped up to the challenge and delivered a key recommendation of the Royal Commission – 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.”
Ms Little said a number of focus areas for ACCPA have already been identified, such as:
- 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
“This is a very important moment, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to be unified in voice and purpose and hold Government to account as we work toward reform. I encourage the entire sector to get on board, help shape this new organisation so it can reflect the needs and views of all within the industry, and support the very best practice in care and support for older Australians,” Ms Little continued.
“The time for change is now, and our voice will be stronger than ever.”
Background: 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). The report developed options for a new model of sector representation and development and included consultation with aged care providers.
A Steering Committee was then formed to oversee a transformation process, which first met in February 2022. It includes Chairs and or Deputy Chairs as representatives for ACSA, LASA, ACRN and faith based peak bodies in the AACC. Claerwen Little was elected as Chair of that Steering Committee.