From July 1 Australian aged care providers will be represented by a new industry association to be known as the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA).
The new peak body will see the merging of Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA).
Voted by the organisations’ membership, the move follows the royal commission’s recommendations for greater collaboration and a unified leadership representing providers of aged care and retirement living services.
“This vote is an historic result for LASA and ACSA and for the aged care sector more broadly,” LASA CEO Sean Rooney told Australian Ageing Agenda. “It marks the start of a new era for Australian aged care representation with the creation of a united, single industry association.”
The commitment to form a new, single entity dates back to 2021 when ACSA – which represents not-for-profit and mission-based providers – and LASA agreed to unite.
In February, LASA, ACSA and other industry bodies established a steering committee to develop a new sector representation model that is inclusive of all providers.
Described as a landmark move for the industry, the decision to consolidate will give the new body greater clout as it advocates on behalf of hundreds of members across Australia, said Mr Rooney.
“It’s an exciting step which paves the way for stronger and more influential aged care sector representation as we undertake challenging sector reform with the aim of achieving the care that older Australians need and deserve,” he said.
The vote to merge was held last Friday and the new board will hold its inaugural meeting on 9 May.
Chair of the steering committee to oversee the new body Claewen told AAA the decision to merge was “a very important moment” for the industry.
“It presents us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build on our combined strengths so that we can continue to work toward significant reform and create a world-class system of care for older Australians and the people that support them,” said Ms Little.
“It is an exciting time, we have much work ahead of us to shape the new organisation, and I encourage the whole sector to get behind this change,” she added.
Announcing the new association on Tuesday, Ms Little said ACCPA would give the sector 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 said.
Ms Little said a number of focus areas for ACCPA have already been identified, including:
- Combining the resources, experience, expertise and history of ACSA and LASA
- Leading proactive and positive change via guidance, communication, and advocac
- Uniting the diverse range of aged care providers under one single advocacy agenda
- Delivering enhanced suite of services for members
- Applying flexible and appropriate membership fees