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Getting serious about the future of aged care

The aged care sector is going through massive change and it is time for a public debate about what people want from aged care, according to Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) National President Paul Sadler.

Minister for Health and Ageing Susan Ley at the opening of the ACSA National Summit 2016
Minister for Health and Ageing Susan Ley at the opening of the ACSA National Summit 2016

“It’s time for Australia to get serious about the debate about the future of aged care.

“We need to have an active debate that all Australians participate in as a community and come to a resolution about what want Australia to look like,” Mr Sadler says at day two of the ACSA National Summit 2016 in Hobart.

Over 700 people from across the Australian aged care sector have gathered in Tasmania this week for the ACSA National Summit 2016.

The event focuses on the aged care reforms, what this means for services on the ground and how the industry can continue to thrive in an ever-changing environment.

At the opening of the conference, Minister for Health and Ageing Susan Ley, said “Every single Australian is a stakeholder in the Health and Aged Care portfolio.”

She recognised the sector was being stretched by the aged care reforms but called it a “world class aged care system.”

Mr Sadler says the conference is looking at different ways the aged care sector can provide the sort of care and accommodation options that older people want.

“We have to work out a system where those who can afford to pay do and those who need our support as a community are supported effectively by government and my not-for-profit organisations like the ones ACSA represents.”

Mr Sadler says that with the ageing population and more people needing care the workforce is a challenge and ACSA has been calling for a proper workforce strategy address to address these challenges.

With the introduction of Consumer Directed Care and more choice and control for the consumer Mr Sadler says “there is the potential consequence of casualization of workforce. That’s something we believe we need work at.

“What’s the balance, between the choice of services people want, provided by who they want to provide them, and at the same time we have some uncertainty for the workforce in aged care.“

The growing aged care industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy but ageing and aged care are too often perceived as negative or boring.

New ACSA National Chief Executive Officer Pat Sparrow is looking forward to support the industry in changing the perceptions of aged care.

“We’re not just good people doing good things for older people,” says Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA).

“We are a strong industry, supporting the growing cohort of Australian citizens making both significant economic contribution and social benefit to the nation.

“What we do is important, what we contribute is important and this needs to be recognised.”

The ACSA National Summit continues in Hobart today and tomorrow.

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