Above: Glenn Bunney , spokesperson for LASA
By Keryn Curtis
The Australian aged care sector, in its broadest diversity, has a new national peak industry association.
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA, pronounced ‘laysah’), is the name of the new entity, formed by founding members, Aged and Community Care Victoria (ACCV), Aged Care Queensland (ACQ) and Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA), officially announced at lunctime today.
ACCV and ACQ have given notice of their resignation from Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) this morning, effective 1 July this year, as ACSA state members gathered for an ACSA General Meeting in Melbourne.
The new organisation will operate as a federated body with the national office headquartered in Canberra. State offices will be formed under the names Leading Aged Services Australia Vic (LASA Vic) and LASA Qld, while LASA WA, LASA SA & NT, LASA NSW and LASA Tas will be established in time.
Spokesperson for LASA, Mr Glenn Bunney, said it was an entirely new entity designed to meet the desire expressed by the majority of aged care providers today for an inclusive and unified representative voice.
“This is the industry association that service providers have been asking for – one that is inclusive of every service type.”
Mr Bunney said the ACSA Board was informed of the announcement of the new organisation last night, ahead of the formal resignation of ACCV and ACQ at the ACSA general meeting in Melbourne today. A handful of key stakeholders were also informed yesterday.
Despite the breadth and depth of the task of establishing an entire new peak industry association, it has been a remarkably well kept secret with only mild rumours of the move circulating outside the core group in recent weeks.
“Certainly the board members [of ACQ & ACCV] and a few individual members were involved in the planning but it was always a process and there was no guarantee of an outcome of that process.
“All members will be advised today. All NACA stakeholders, the consumer peaks, unions and professional groups. Really today is day one of a whole engagement process,” he said.
Mr Bunney said that while a single united voice for the aged care sector had long been discussed and debated, the real genesis of LASA came with the decision of the ACSA board on 8 February to overturn a previous commitment to move toward a merger with ACAA.
“The idea of a single national voice been around for a long time, even when I was president of ACSA but it was too early then. But it is a very different ACSA today.”
“A survey we have done within the industry showed that, among the not for profit members there was a three to one preference in favour of a unified national voice. That was a fairly strong message,” Mr Bunney said.
A wide remit
In the offical statement issued at 1.30pm today, Valerie Lyons, President of ACCV, said it was a defining moment of a new era in national representation of the industry across Australia.
She 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.
“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 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”, Valerie Lyons said.
More coming soon…