‘We’ve a lot on our plates,’ says ACCPA chief

The upcoming reforms will “change the world of aged care,” Tom Symondson tells conference.

“This has been a heck of a few months,” Tom Symondson has told delegates attending the Aged & Community Care Providers Association’s Queensland conference on the Gold Coast this week. “In a great flurry and rush, a huge number of things have happened in a very short period of time.”

Speaking on Tuesday, the second day of the conference, ACCPA’s chief executive officer addressed recent developments – among them, the delay of the new Aged Care Act.  “We have had the announcement – to our great relief – that the 1 July date for the legislation will now not be hit.”

The decision by government, said Mr Symondson, was a direct response to feedback provided by many in the room during the consultation period of the exposure draft. “Which showed there wasn’t agreement on the right way forward.”

It was important that was acknowledged, Mr Symondson told the 400-or-so delegates “because this piece of legislation will govern our lives for possibly another 27 years like the 1997 Act has to date.”

Mr Symondson said he hoped the new legislation would be passed “as soon as it is possible for it to pass and do the things that we need it to do.” Once passed, the Act will “change the world of aged care – it has to,” said Mr Symondson. “That’s the whole point of doing it.”

However, Mr Symondson voiced concerns that if the legislation is slow to move through parliament, it could clash with next year’s federal election. “We need it done before then,” he told delegates. “If it isn’t, the risk is it will fall off the priority list.”

449 delegates are attending ACCPA’s Queensland conference

Another major development for the sector, said Mr Symondson, is the final report of the Aged Care Taskforce, which “dealt with a number of incredibly challenging issues that we have wanted to have dealt with for many, many years.”

Such as the introduction of a stronger user-pay model of funding. “We’re talking about asking people to pay more for the services that they receive.” The idea that those with means should pay for some aged care services was given a very fair hearing, said Mr Symondson, “and that is the absolutely most that any of us could ask for.”

Although the 23 recommendations laid out in the taskforce report are not government policy, Mr Symondson told delegates: “I have some confidence that we will see those recommendations brought to life.”

Tom Symondson

While Mr Symondson acknowledged that the financial situation for the sector is improving, he said “it’s not on a stable forward trajectory – nowhere near.” Financially stabilising the sector will allow providers to focus on other matters, he said – “the care of our elders, our workforce.”

The changes to come will reinvigorate and innovate the sector, said Mr Symondson. “And that’s what we all want. But reform of the sector is not about to slow down anytime soon, he said. “We do have a lot on our plates.”

My Symondson told delegates it was important they remind themselves of how much the sector has achieved so far. “Because when you look at the huge amount of change ahead of you it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking, ‘Oh God, we’ve achieved nothing because we’ve got all of this other stuff in front of us.’”

Mr Symondson said people were very good at ignoring past success as soon as it has happened. “We must not do that. We must remind ourselves of how far we have come.”

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Tags: ACCPA, ACCPA conference, aged care reform, new aged care act, queensland, Tom Symondson,

1 thought on “‘We’ve a lot on our plates,’ says ACCPA chief

  1. What exactly has been achieved? It appears the sole ‘achievement’ is the unnecessary and unethical complication of life for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of elderly people. Nonetheless, self-congratulatory behaviour persists among the upper echelons of organisations tasked with making ‘care’ decisions.

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