The aged care industry needs to adopt a more collaborative approach to lobbying, according to a former minister for ageing.

In a speech last year, Santo Santoro urged providers to recognise that they are just one of many aged care stakeholders.

The former Queensland senator said despite recent reports and lobbying efforts, the industry had failed to communicate any new ideas.

“The reason [the industry’s proposals] have little prospect is because each of them is too difficult an adjustment to make to a complex and integrated system,” said Mr Santoro.

“This industry is at a crossroads, but it is a crossroads we’ve been sitting at for a decade or more, and it’s time to step away and think of an entirely new direction.”

According to Mr Santoro, this new direction should be based on common ideas set by a coalition between providers, consumer groups and unions.

He said reform proposals which have the potential to expand current services and create freedom have the best chance of success.

However Mr Santoro said the industry had to bear in mind the dangers of raising concerns around access or security issues.
“And that’s going to be difficult,” he said. “It requires consideration of options which haven’t been fully explored in Australia, including innovative insurance products and community finance options.

“It means looking at the dormant but still important public sector desire to separate care from accommodation, to provide seamless transit through increasing disability, and to find concentration nodes for the delivery of community care.”

Mr Santoro believes there will be “substantive reform” but he said the industry must move away from the same old analysis and argument.

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