ACSA merger vote postponed

The state aged care associations that make up the ACSA Federation were going to vote at their AGM next week on a proposed merger with ACAA, to form a single peak body. Now the vote has been put off.

Above: ACSA vice-president, Ross Smith

By Stephen Easton

A vote on whether to merge with Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA) has been dropped from the agenda for the upcoming Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) annual general meeting on 4 November.

ACSA president Klaus Zimmerman announced in July that the six state associations in the ACSA Federation would be asked to vote on a proposed merger with ACAA at the November meeting, but it has now emerged they will have to wait longer for a specific proposal to be finalised.  

Official acceptance by ACSA members is the only thing standing in the way of the merger going ahead, according to Mr Zimmerman.

ACSA vice-president, Ross Smith, confirmed the vote would not happen at the meeting next Friday, but said discussions between the boards of the two national peak bodies were still making progress. 

“Both ACSA and ACAA are still continuing to progress those discussions, and there will be more discussions next week, but certainly there won’t be a vote at the AGM on the fourth,” Mr Smith said.

“The outcome of those discussions will be some sort of proposition that we can vote on, to decide whether it would be a better situation than we have currently. There is presently no public document about what the proposal actually is – what the merger really means, or what [the single peak body] would actually look like – and there are a variety of options there.”

“It’s been a bit challenging to get all the key people together at the same time, most recently with the attendance of a number of key people at the IAHSA meeting in Washington. But [the discussions] are progressing proactively and, from my perspective, positively.”

Three ACSA board members are currently in the United States attending the global ageing conference hosted by the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) and LeadingAge: president Klaus Zimmerman, ECH chief executive Rob Hankins and Villa Maria CEO Valerie Lyons, taking the place of ACSA CEO Patrick McClure. The CEO of ACAA, Rod Young, is also in attendance.

As well as difficulties in getting all the key stakeholders together at the same time, the ACSA vice-president explained there was also “a complex range of state and national relationships” to work through.

“We’ve been working over the last few years to include all the different views; there are a lot of overlaps but also some minor differences too,” Mr Smith said. 

“For example, some of the church groups are members of their state association and members of their church peak, so you’ve obviously got two national affiliations there; we are trying to get a more unitary voice and make it a much simpler arrangement.

“The church peaks will always exist, but we’re suggesting there should be some better arrangements there to bring everyone together more and help [the proposed single peak body] be an advocate for all aged care providers.”

There is broad support for the merger within the industry, including from Mr Smith, despite the slow progress in moving through official procedures.

“I think that we can get a better result from different arrangements,” he said. “The most important thing is that aged care providers get better and more informed representation. Some people are concerned about [the differences between] for-profits and not-for-profits, but for me it’s about representation.”

Tags: acaa, acsa, merger, single-national-peak-body,

3 thoughts on “ACSA merger vote postponed

  1. While its disappointing that the momentum has slowed as a member of ACSA I want to know what this merger means in terms of the look and feel of the new organisation, and what benefits are expected for member organisations, and the aged care industry in general. Staff in the NSW ACSA Office have said to me that the merger will not materially change anything (presumably in NSW) and that there would still be two organisations. HEllO THIS IN MADNESS and an example of everyone having their own idea of what is and should be happening.

    Personally I would like to see a single national body representing all of aged care. For those who say that the for profit and not for profit sectors are too different I say “GET OVER IT”.

    Getting organised has been too long in coming. The future is too important and we need a single body that represents the interests of aged care providers given the complexity and deman that we face in the future.

  2. How disappointing! Vested interests ahead of the common goal of speaking with one voice for Aged Care in Australia has yet again been postponed.A single National Body representing ALL aged care in Australia, moving forward in the 21st Century should not have to be continually frustrated and blocked by the 20th Century players.It is time for some of those players to retire, and allow for growth and innovation. One single National Body representing the intersts of care providers is the only way forward!

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