Above: ACSA President and currently acting CEO, Rob Hankins

By Keryn Curtis

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has defended its decision not to progress with the proposed creation of a merger between the not-for-profit and for-profit peak bodies in February and remains resolutely committed to aged care reform and representing charitable and other not-for-profit aged care providers in the community and aged care sectors nationally.

This is despite the announcement today that Aged and Community Care Victoria (ACCV) and Aged Care Queensland (ACQ) would withdraw their membership from ACSA from 1 July 2012 and has established a new alternative national peak industry association, called Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) in conjunction with the Aged Care Association of Australia (ACAA)

ACSA’s president and acting CEO, Rob Hankins was upbeat about ACSA’s strategic direction and continuing support from its members.

Mr Hankins said it was important that ACSA has a strong voice through the reform process and its focus on charitable and not for profit (NFP) providers would not be diluted.

“Given the current aged care reform process and the creation of the new Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, it is critical at this time that ACSA has a strong voice to ensure that the care and support delivered by our members is enhanced. 

“ACSA is the voice of charitable and other not-for-profit aged care providers in Australia who serve the interests of all older Australians, including the disadvantaged and those living in rural and remote areas, and we will pursue this with vigour,” he said.

Mr Hankins thanked ACCV and ACQ for their support to ACSA and said, while he understood their decision, based on their mixed membership of not-for-profit and for-profit providers, ACSA retains a bright outlook.

“There is a bright future for ACSA going forward with the appointment of a new CEO, Professor John Kelly AM,  and the relocation of the National Office to Canberra which will bring about a stronger focus on lobbying and advocacy on behalf of the charitable sector.

Mr Hankins said he was not concerned that ACSA could lose members to the new industry association.

“No, I’m not worried we will lose members. Members will make a choice and we provide the strongest possible voice about the ethos and values and contribution of the charitable sector.  I don’t know how [LASA] will, as a combined group, properly represent the non-profits and for-profits, both.”

Mr Hankins said ACSA would remain a national organisation focused on sector reform and would continue to offer representation for all states and territories in Australia.

“The charitable and other not-for-profit providers in Queensland and Victoria will be able to meaningfully engage with ACSA through new avenues to be announced shortly.  

“The four ACSA states which are remaining part of ACSA have met this afternoon. We have established a small working party from that group which will meet next week to consider these matters and come back with some mechanism to enable not for profit organisations in those two states to engage with ACSA going forward.”

“[Newly appointed ACSA CEO, Professor] John Kelly has been participating in discussions today and is strongly supportive of the future direction of ACSA as the national representative body for the charitable and not for profit organisations and the need to maintain our focus on reform.”  

Surprise news

Mr Hankins admitted that, while the move to create the new industry association had obviously been in planning for a while, he had only learned of the news last night when ACCV President, Valerie Lyons and President of ACQ, Marcus Riley rang to inform ACSA board members that they would discontinue their ACSA membership.

He said he did not believe there would be any financial impact arising from the situation.

“Our members have given their iron clad commitment that ACSA’s funding will be continued and the organisation is proceeding as before with plans for establishing the national office.  This afternoon the group is enthused and working cooperatively to ensure we maintain the strong voice of the non-profit and charitable providers across Australia,” he said.

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2 Comments

  1. Isn’t it a lost opportunity that at least two states, namely Queensland & Victoria have been so focussed upon driving an agenda to restructure ACSA over the past 18 months, when all aged care providers should have been addressing the PC review and applying pressure upon the Federal Government to follow through with needed reforms?
    ACSA can now at least focus on the real serious aged care issues with the distractions created by the state organisations who stepped out of the timing of the band. So what do we have now? Still two peak bodies; one for the charitables and not for profits; and the other for for profits and anyone else who wishes to join? So how is this going to assist the clients of aged care providers?

  2. Sounds like an organisaiton in its death throws. ACSA has been irrelevant over the past two years as it changes CEO’s and focuses on things that aren’t about the PC report. Good on ACCV and ACQ for being prepared to step out and make a move which finally gives us one national body. With no members from Queensland and Victoria, I am not sure ACSA can claim to be a national body anymore.

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