The mooted merger of Australia’s peak aged care service providers has entered the next phase with the formation of a steering committee to oversee the construct and application of the new entity.
Recommended by the aged care royal commission, it’s hoped the move to a consolidated sector will provide more collaboration in sector representation and development.
Claerwen Little – national director of UnitingCare Australia – has been elected chair of the steering committee. Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda, Ms Little said: “I’m very excited and very honoured. I’m focused on making sure we can make this happen and for it to be as successful as it needs to be given how important it is that we support older Australians.”
The new body will represent the whole of the aged care sector – residential and home care; not-for-profit and for-profit; faith-based and secular.
It will provide a “conductor role”, said Ms Little. “It will coordinate the diverse choir of the various providers in the sector,” she said. “It’s about achieving one voice.”
Among the benefits of a unified sector peak are greater efficiencies, shared resources and stronger representation. “It means we can advocate for a diversity of providers,” said Ms Little. “It maximises advocacy capacity.”
In December 2021, the boards of Aged and Community Services Australia and Leading Age Services Australia agreed to establish a new peak model inclusive of the aged care industry as a whole. The new platform will be based on a report Australian Aged Care Collaboration and Aged Care Reform Network commissioned KMPG Australia to develop last year.
The steering committee will include chairs and deputy chairs of ACSA, LASA, ACRN, Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia and UnitingCare Australia.
Once the steering committee decides on the direction of the new body, its recommendations will be put to ACSA and LASA members for a vote. If majority approval is reached, the new organisation is planned to be up and operating by the middle of the year.