The decision by LASA and ACSA members to consolidate the two organisations presents a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity, writes Claerwen Little.

Australia deserves a world-class aged care system. Older Australians, their loved ones and the people who care for them deserve it too. As sector representatives we have a responsibility 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.

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.

A key milestone in the journey of change was the successful yes vote from ACSA and LASA members last Friday giving the green light to go full steam ahead in building a new, unified and different organisation. Much preparation has already started, and the new board will hold its inaugural meeting on 9 May. I wish the new board well and will be there to support the success of this new body in whatever way I can.

I want to thank my colleagues on the transformation steering committee – Linda Mellors, Ian Thorley, Graeme Blackman, Stephen Cornelissen, Robert Orie, Cherylee Treloar, along with our two CEOs Paul Sadler and Sean Rooney, for your leadership, your commitment and your time. It has been a privilege to work with you over these past few months as we deliberated the best way forward together, through some robust and at times tricky conversations.

This is a very important moment and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – we must be unified in voice and purpose and hold government to account as we work toward reform. I encourage everyone to get on board, help shape this new organisation so it can reflect your needs and views, and support the very best practice in care and support for older Australians.  

Carpe Diem. The time for change is now and our voice will be stronger than ever.

Claerwen Little is chair of the steering committee to oversee a new unified aged care industry association and national director UnitingCare Australia.

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