Defending a single voice

More commentary on the establishment of the new peak aged care industry association, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) from key spokespeople.

In the course of reporting the news about the establishment of the new aged care industry peak association, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) , there were some verbal comments sought from key spokespeople by AAA – and provided in interviews – that were not reported at the time.

Given the ongoing reader interest in this issue and the ensuing range of opinions and responses reported, we felt it was important to ensure these views were also included. 


Valerie Lyons (pictured above), CEO of Villa Maria & President of ACCV

“We need to separate out what is at the core and heart of all service delivery, regardless of the type of service provider: what is framed in legislation and through regulation to ensure the quality outcome is the same for all senior Australians.

“We should be united and consistent in our policy positions for all senior Australians across Australia. That’s what we are lobbying about.

“Villa Maria is a provider of senior, education and disability services and I very much value my organisation’s not for profit status. The fact is, there is a difference in our tax situations and that is reflected in our mission and our commitment to social outcomes. As a not for profit we take those returns, that should be there, and invest them in areas that private providers may not- or to particular areas or targeted groups.

“It may well be that some of our NFP aged care services get cross-subsidised with different services and different target markets. But our entitlement to the NFP tax status comes back to the key issue of how we use our surpluses and I don’t see how this should be compromised in any manner or form because we are aligning at a policy level with members of the commercial sector in delivering core quality services to all seniors in Australia.

“We’ve got to see things for the greater good of the total sector and the outcomes we can achieve for older Australians. As a sector we should use our fairly finite resources to lobby for all providers on clear and consistent messages.”


Glenn Bunney (pictured above), CEO of Sundale and spokesperson for LASA

“There are three things that must be kept front and centre in these discussions.

“First and foremost, the Australian aged care system must have the consumer at its centre. Our industry is renowned internationally for its person centred approach. We can always do better but it is still fair to say that we are recognised as leaders in quality person-centred aged care and nothing about your ownership status necessarily changes that. 

“The PC’s recommended reforms picked that up when you put the consumer at the centre, looking for services of a particular quality and availability, consumers do not often see a difference between a for-profit and a not for profit provider.  The consumer is looking for the best service to meet their needs. And whether you are a private operator or a charitable group, if you’re not client-centred and not offering what consumers want, then you might not last.

“Secondly, when you look at industry viability, again it doesn’t matter. The whole sector is facing the same issues with the current system and if the government delivers the whole suite of reforms, the new system will not discriminate between different types of providers.

“Thirdly, the idea that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) might take a dim view of not for profit aged care providers being members of an industry group that represents all aged care providers, including private ones, is frankly nonsense thinking.

“Why would that pose any risk to the way the ACNC defines a charity? Not for profit aged care providers are registered charities now and many are part of much larger charitable organisations working in a range of different sectors.  

“The criteria for determining a not for profit organisation will be made in relation to all NFPs around the country. Decisions will be based around what they believe defines a charity or a NFP. Surely nobody is suggesting that the ACNC will make different rules for not for profit aged care organisations involved in different sectors or based somehow on with whom an NFP associates?

“There is a lot of the sentiment, ‘we’ll all be rooned’ with this. Even Hanrahan wouldn’t think that the ACNC is down there pulling charities and NFPs apart depending on the industry they are in? 

“LASA will be making its own submissions to the ACNC. We will fight for the rights and benefits of NFP organisations and the preservation – or expansion – of these. This is a clearly stated position of LASA and one to which we are absolutely committed.”


Andrew Giles (pictured above), CEO, Retirement Villages Association Australia (RVA)

“We were just as surprised as anybody that this would come out of a ‘no merger’ situation with ACSA and ACAA..

“We have congratulated LASA on its establishment. Our view is that it’s a pity that we weren’t able to have one representative body for aged care in Australia but we have a strong relationship with ACSA and will have the same with LASA.”

In response to the question of whether RVA would consider joining LASA:

“I’m the CEO of the organisation. It would be up to my board to assess any future that might involve that [RVA joining LASA].  If there was something there that represented a strong value proposition for our industry, then we would consider it. But we don’t have any definitive information and we haven’t talked at all at this stage.

“But we see value now in working with them both, talking regularly and sharing issues with both.

“We’d never rule out anything but at the same time there has to be something that benefits our members. At the moment, we are solely focused on operators of RVs. Forty three per cent of all RV units in the country are RVA members and 45 per cent of those are NFPs.

“But that doesn’t mean it will never change. In the new post PC world, that may change the operating model quite significantly over time. That’s why  I would never rule out the possibility of A, us working together; and B, us coming together.” 

Tags: andrew-giles, glenn-bunney, lasa, new-peak-body, valerie-lyons,

1 thought on “Defending a single voice

  1. Having both ‘for profit’ and ‘not for profit’ providers makes an important contribution to developing quality service delivery models.

    An NFP does not have a profit motive and is obliged to use retained earnings in accordance with its mission.

    A FP has a profit motive and obligations to: (1)reward individual investors for their risk and opportunity cost
    (2)shift resources into areas of higher productivity and yield

    If in the passage of time major market share in community care was taken by the FP sector, as has happened in the UK, but it became increasingly clear that the return on investment was inadequate, the FP would withdraw.

    The risk of such a scenario in delivering aged community must be managed.

    The best way to manage this risk if for:
    1. the NFP sector to become more client centred
    2. both sectors to make it clear to the community and government that they wont deficit fund inadequately funded government programs for the sake of market share.

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