Back in December last year, industry peak bodies Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) agreed that a single representative body would provide a stronger advocacy voice for aged care providers.
Now, a Steering Committee, which met for the first time on 10 February, has been formed to oversee the design and implementation of the new entity.
Claerwen Little, National Director of UnitingCare Australia, has been elected as the Chair of the Steering Committee and is looking forward to leading positive change in the industry.
"This is an exciting and daunting time, given the huge pressures on the sector due to the pandemic and the reform agenda," says Ms Little.
"However, the opportunity to reset and transform the sector’s representation must be seized if we are to dare to dream of a vibrant, trusted and sustainable aged services sector that enhances the wellbeing of older Australians.
"The process we have embarked on will create lasting and positive impacts for the sector and older Australians."
The idea behind the new entity is that it will leverage the combined resources of both the existing peak bodies, ACSA and LASA, for the benefit of all aged care providers and the older Australians they support and provide care for.
Audit and advisory group KPMG was commissioned by aged care associations Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) and Aged Care Reform Network (ACRN), of which ACSA and LASA are members, to develop a new model of sector representation and development.
During this process, the idea of a unified organisation for providers was suggested.
The final report from KPMG is still to be released, however, ACSA and LASA both endorsed the recommendation, as a unified front will help bring coordinated reform to the aged care sector.
ACSA and LASA are still to outline the benefits to their member providers and put the decision to a vote.
If the members agree, ACSA and LASA will transition into the new entity and should be functioning by the middle of 2022.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety suggested a unified aged care industry voice in its own Final Report to the Federal Government, which supported improved collaboration in sector representation and development.
Ms Little says, "Whilst this process is underway we will continue to keep the pressure on the Federal Government to ensure the Royal Commission’s recommendations are implemented in full and older Australians receive the care they need and deserve.”
Audit and advisory group KPMG also consulted with aged care providers about the transformation process for the new unified entity, which will continue over the coming weeks.