One voice is vital for aged care sector transformation, writes Claerwen Little.

You’ve heard before from the aged care sector peaks about how the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for reform that must not be squandered.

Now, as the reforms progress, we have a unique opportunity and a responsibility to build on the past, to plan better for the future, and truly transform as a sector.

Claerwen Little

And in order to do this, we need one clear loud voice to advocate, a strong platform of service support and development, and a peak organisation where all aged care providers can feel they belong.

On deep reflection, the existing aged care sector peak organisations have also agreed they too need to transform, to allow room for a new, strong united organisation to emerge.

Building on the work of the Australian Aged Care Collaboration and the Aged Care Reform Network (ACRN), the aged care sector are leading the reform together.  

A Transformation Steering Committee, which I am privileged to Chair and a transition implementation team have both been established.  Sector consultation is well underway to shape this new entity in a way that meets the needs of everyone. The aim is to honour the past and realise an effective and enduring single peak aged care sector organisation that:

  • members value
  • stakeholders appreciate
  • decision-makers respect
  • staff cherish
  • makes a positive difference in the lives of older Australians.

This is not just a lick of paint and a new logo. It is a single, national industry association representing and supporting all providers of aged care services that promises:

  • stronger advocacy in a time of unprecedented change
  • information, support and services for all providers – irrespective of service type, ownership or location
  • enhanced value for money through efficiency and effectiveness.

No mean feat, especially when there are so many significant challenges facing us all, but truly needed now more than ever if we are to meet them.

As a critical part of the process of change I would urge all provider stakeholders across the aged care sector to attend an online meeting at 3pm AEDT on 28 March. The meeting will be facilitated by Nous Group, who will present the proposed new industry association’s vision, purpose statement, governance, value proposition and service offerings for your comment and input.

Register for the meeting here. If you can’t attend, have your say by contacting transition director Melissa Centofanti on melissa.centofanti@transition.asn.au.

Stakeholders involved in the consultations so far have included Aged & Community Services Australia and Leading Age Services Australia members and boards, ACRN members, faith-based bodies, individual providers, Commonwealth Home Support Program peak bodies, aged care consumer groups and aged care unions.

These consultations are wide ranging and aim to capture everyone’s views so don’t miss out. This is an incredible opportunity to truly come together and realise our vision of strong, quality services for older Australians. I hope you and your organisation can be part of it.

Claerwen Little is chair of the Transformation Steering Committee and national director UnitingCare Australia

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