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Break-Away Aged Care Groups Forms New National Body

29 March 2012 at 3:56 pm
Staff Reporter
Two state-based aged care representative bodies, Victoria and Queensland, have withdrawn from the national peak body ACSA (Aged and Community Services Australia) to form a new national entity.

Staff Reporter | 29 March 2012 at 3:56 pm


Break-Away Aged Care Groups Forms New National Body
29 March 2012 at 3:56 pm

Two state-based aged care representative bodies, Victoria and Queensland, have withdrawn from the national peak body ACSA (Aged and Community Services Australia) to form a new national entity.

The split follows more than a year of turmoil over representation and a failed attempt to merge with a for-profit association. 

Agreement has been reached by Marcus Riley, President of ACQ, Bryan Dorman, President of ACAA and Valerie Lyons, President of ACCV, to establish the new national entity called of Leading Age Services Australia.

Aged Care Queensland (ACQ), Aged and Community Care Victoria (ACCV) and the Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA) are founding members of Leading Age Services Australia.

“This is a defining moment of a new era in national representation of the industry across Australia,” Lyons said.

“From day one, Leading Age Services Australia will represent and support all age service providers regardless of whether they are privately owned or Not for Profit , for the benefit of all older Australians.

“Leading Age Services Australia has been formed by member associations representing all streams of our sector who are passionate about presenting a national single voice to improve outcomes for older Australians.”

Lyons said the new organisation would be the only truly national and industry-wide peak organisation, providing the unified voice that the age services sector has been crying out for over the past decade.

“Leading Age Services Australia will be the voice for all providers, including residential and community care, retirement living, housing and services for older Australians and will actively pursue special needs and interest issues including rural and remote services, indigenous, CALD clients, the homeless, mental health, disability and young people in nursing homes,” Lyons said.

Bryan Dorman said: “All the available evidence shows that governments, other peak bodies and industry members themselves overwhelmingly want just one industry association for age services –one that’s capable of understanding and representing the needs of all providers and Leading Age Services Australia is that body.”

Dorman said the new body would be a vocal advocate to government on behalf of all age service providers, to benefit older Australians and their families.

“We know that the age services sector is facing unprecedented challenges, with unprecedented growth in Australians of retirement age. This will result in a tripling of demand for quality services and accommodation,” Dorman said.

“We also know that successive Federal Ministers have voiced frustration at the inability of the industry to present a united position on major issues – one that encompasses all facets of service provision.

“In making their policy and funding decisions, governments do not differentiate among the various types of service providers. It is no longer credible that the industry itself should continue to do so.”

ACSA National President Rob Hankins said ACSA is committed to representing charitable and other Not for Profit aged care providers in the community and aged care sectors nationally and to progressing aged care reform through the National Aged Care Alliance despite the decision by Aged and Community Care Victoria (ACCV) and Aged Care Queensland (ACQ) to withdraw from ACSA.

“It is this need for focus on aged care reform, and the important issues facing the charitable and other not-for-profit sector, that drove ACSA’s decision not to progress with the proposed creation of a merger between the Not for Profit and for-profit peak bodies,” Hankins said.

“It is a fact that about three quarters of care provision to older Australians is delivered through the charitable and other Not for Profit sector.

“Given the current aged care reform process and the creation of the new Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, it is critical at this time that ACSA has a strong voice to ensure that the care and support delivered by our members is enhanced.

“There is a bright future for ACSA going forward with the appointment of a new CEO, Professor John Kelly AM, and the relocation of the National Office to Canberra which will bring about a stronger focus on lobbying and advocacy on behalf of the charitable sector,” he said.

The new body says membership of Leading Age Services Australia will be offered to any national, state or territory based representative of service providers in the age services industry.

ACQ President Marcus Riley said the new organisation would significantly increase the industry’s influence over government and policy making.

“There’s no doubt that governments pay attention to industry groups that can speak with the authority of their entire industry, rather than just fragments of it,” Riley said.

“The creation of Leading Age Services Australia is the culmination of industry demands over a decade or more for a comprehensive representative body, and I’m delighted we’ve been able to deliver that.”

ACQ and ACCV have advised ACSA of their decision to cease membership of Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) from June 30 2012.

Valerie Lyons said the decision to withdraw from ACSA was not one that had been taken lightly.

The decision taken by the ACSA Board to withdraw from the merger with ACAA was clarifying, not only for the ACSA Federation, but for other associations that were committed to delivering services to all providers.

“Overwhelmingly, the industry believes we need a powerful voice that can speak for all providers – whether privately-owned or Not for Profit – in all states and delivering all services,” Lyons said.

“The old model of different ‘peak’ bodies for different parts of the industry has not delivered the strength and certainty the whole industry needs. Leading Age Services Australia will achieve that goal.”

Riley said internal industry research had shown overwhelming support among age service providers for a unified voice to advocate and advise governments on behalf of the industry.

“Even among not-for-profit providers – largely the current membership of ACSA – there is three-to-one support for a single industry voice,” Riley said.

“Membership of Leading Age Services Australia will be open to all industry associations including those state peak bodies affiliated with ACAA or ACSA, or national associations that share our commitment to helping older Australians to live well.”

“It is now over to the boards of national, state or territory-based representative organisations to listen to the views of their membership, expressed clearly in industry research, and to unite under the new, national age services peak body,” Riley said. 

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