A new CEO for ACSA

ACSA has announced the appointment of Professor John Kelly AM to the role of CEO

Above: Adjunct Professor John G Kelly AM

By Keryn Curtis

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) National President, Rob Hankins, today announced the appointment of Adjunct Professor John Kelly AM to the role of Chief Executive Officer of ACSA nearly four months after the resignation of former CEO, Patrick McClure.

Professor John Kelly AM is currently Director and Chairman of UnitingCare Ageing (NSW.ACT), as well as being Principal in Canberra based law firm, John G Kelly & Associates Pty Limited, specialising in legal and consulting services to the health and aged care sectors.  

Mr Hankins said Professor Kelly was a “dynamic person to lead Australia’s peak body of over 1100 faith based, charitable and community-based providers” and his appointment followed a substantial national search.  .

“Professor Kelly is an outstanding choice to become ACSA’s CEO. His strong leadership skills, extensive clinical, management and consulting background in the health and aged care sectors, governance experience at a national level, advocacy and stakeholder representation in national professional associations, faith based and secular not for profit entities, as well as for profit community & aged care service providers, makes this an exceptional appointment at a vital time for the aged care sector,” he said.

According to ACSA’s statement, Professor Kelly has had continuous experience as a Director of not-for-profit, remunerated health and aged care related Boards as well as Government Boards and Statutory Committees, since 1994. 

He also operates the law program in the Masters of Health Administration at the University of Technology, Sydney and manages a specialist boutique national health and aged care legal and consulting practice. He has been a partner in national law firms specialising in the health and aged care sector, was the recipient of the University of Technology, Sydney’s prestigious 2010 Alumni Award for Excellence. 

In 2009 Professor Kelly was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2010 he was appointed temporarily to the position of Commonwealth Aged Care Commissioner, by then Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot.  

“He is exceptionally well connected and informed.  He trained as a nurse originally before going into law.  He sits on a Medicare Local board, is on the advisory board to one of the Divisions of General Practice; he’s also on a NSW state government health and ageing advisory board,” said Mr Hankins.

Professor Kelly told AAA that, while the new role was something of a change, it was not a radical one.

“I have been involved in this space for 35 years and I am passionate about the whole issue of the impact of an ageing population as a whole.  Whether the government does anything or not, we are all going to be exposed to it.

“I’ve also always been interested in community and community-based services. I think they can offer creative solutions for governments and the community that are a win-win and can achieve a number of agendas on a parallel paths.

“So I’m not just interested in residential care.  I want to be looking at supported accommodation and how communities can work together and engage voluntarism. I’m passionate about enabling opportunities for community and government to work together and ACSA represents the organisations that can make that happen,” he said.  

Professor Kelly said one of his strengths was in being a good communicator and he had three key communication tasks on his agenda for the first 12 months.

“I will be focusing on both internal and external stakeholder engagement and communication – so building relationships and consulting with ACSA members  – but also external stakeholders including the members of NACA. Like Catholic Health Australia and COTA etc and continuing what the Alliance is doing and finding more opportunities to work together.” 

His other priority for the first 12 months will be advocacy with government and the opposition.  He describes himself as a proactive person with a strategic approach who likes to be always looking ahead.

“How can we move forward in a strategic way?  To achieve a win-win?  I’d like to take the lead on issues and build on the good relationships with the Minister, Mark Butler and the Opposition spokesperson, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and other members of the parliament. I won’t be sitting back waiting until someone asks a question.”

Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty welcomed the appointment of Professor John Kelly, saying Professor Kelly has deep knowledge of the dynamics of Catholic aged care services.

“I’ve worked with John on health and welfare issues for more than a decade. John is a previous director of Catholic Healthcare, he has been a regular speaker at CHA conferences, and he has been a legal adviser to many Catholic aged care providers. He knows the CHA membership very well,” Mr Laverty said.

“CHA and ACSA agreed a Memorandum of Understanding last year that put in place a mechanism for our two organisations to work closely together in order to best achieve and implement aged care reform that will benefit the needs of older Australians. With John’s appointment, I see further opportunities for our two organisations to work collaboratively.”

Professor Kelly will commence in the role on Monday 10 April.  He will be stepping down from his current positions with his law firm and with UnitingCare Ageing NSW.ACT.  One of his first tasks will be moving the ACSA national office to Canberra from its current Melbourne location.

Experience at a glance*:

UnitingCare Ageing (NSW.ACT)
September 2011 – Present (7 months)

McCarthy Mentoring
August 2011 – Present (8 months)

Master Electricians Australia
Nonprofit; 11-50 employees; Nonprofit Organization Management industry
January 2010 – Present (2 years 3 months)

Adj Professor
University of Technology, Sydney
2008 – Present (4 years)

John G Kelly & Associates Pty Limited
July 2003 – Present (8 years 9 months)
Legal & Consulting Services to the Health & Aged Care sectors

The Smith Family
November 2006 – January 2011 (4 years 3 months)

Blake Dawson
Partnership; 1001-5000 employees; Law Practice industry
June 2007 – June 2009 (2 years 1 month)

Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Partnership; 1001-5000 employees; Law Practice industry
July 1999 – June 2003 (4 years)

Honors and Awards:

2009 Member of the Order of Australia
2010 UTS Alumni Award for Excellence

*Linked In profile.

Tags: acsa-ceo, appointment, ceo, john-kelly, patrick-mcclure,

1 thought on “A new CEO for ACSA

  1. I would like to say I heard Professor Kelly speak on Late Line last night.

    He failed to say, perhaps the aged care facilities should be taking less residents. Especially, as he says the ratio of carer to resident is low.

    John, you and I know, that the agencies are funded. The more residents in beds, the more funding. Stop the nonsense and perhaps best to say, the residential provider should be taking as many residents that can be cared for with quality services. If you as you stated, 2 carers per 15 residents. Well then, perhaps make it less residents so it means the number of care workers you can provide. Really what you meant to say was we are taking in too many residents and we just cant meet their needs.

    John, I was appalled and deeply ashamed that we are caring for our elderly in the fashion that we have been. You, as CEO should be doing more.

    Say it as it is. We are not under funded, but we are taking too many residents and we cant cope!

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