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A vision for aged care in Australia

Innovation is important, but action is vital

In May I had the pleasure of attending the World Ageing Festival in Singapore, where Australian providers showed they are truly leading the way in innovation in aged care. Hosted by Ageing Asia, this global ageing event gathered more than 5,000 participants, 100 notable speakers and 100 diverse exhibitors. It united representatives from 50 countries to explore the latest innovations and industry showcases.

I was proud to be on the judging panel for the 12th Annual Eldercare Innovation Awards, where Australian aged care providers featured prominently. Well done!

Among them, Ryman Healthcare Australia won four awards including Operator of the Year for ‘Ageing-in-Place’ and ‘Assisted Living’, while Bolton Clarke was awarded the Operator of the Year title for ‘Active Ageing’ and Innovation of the Year for ‘Employee Wellbeing’.

I was also honoured and humbled to be one of 10 recipients of the Global Ageing Influencer Award.

Ahead of the awards I was asked to reflect on my vision for aged care in Australia, so I will share it here.

My vision is to enhance the wellbeing of older Australians through a high performing, trusted and sustainable aged care sector. This is a vision shared by providers across the continuum of aged care in Australia.

Australia’s population is ageing, and our aged care sector must grow and adapt to meet that challenge.

To achieve this, we must keep people at the heart of aged care. We need to give older Australians more choice and control, enabling people to live at home safely, for as long
as they can.

With this shared vision in focus, we can build a caring, vibrant and thriving system that supports all Australians as they age.

Many of the keys that will help us unlock this vision can be found in the final report of the Aged Care Taskforce.

The report offers the blueprint for change, but it will need the support of all sides of politics, all aged care providers and the public. By now, every corner of parliament must be aware of the immense challenges facing aged care in this country.

Our providers have proven themselves to be resilient, innovative leaders – but innovation isn’t enough on its own. We need action. We’re calling on all sides of politics to do what they can to support the sustainability of the aged care system to ensure viability both now and into the future – because aged care will affect every Australian, at some point in their lives.

Australia needs to urgently modernise its aged care funding model.

This is critical given Australia’s population is projected to significantly age over the next two decades.

At the same time older Australians are calling for, and deserve, more choice and higher levels of care.

The unavoidable truth is aged care needs far greater investment to deliver the services the Royal Commission challenged us to provide and to meet community expectations.

The Taskforce gathered economists, leaders in finance, unions, industry leaders and aged care experts. I was proud to be part of this important group.

Together, we came up with solutions to our industry’s challenges – and we now eagerly await the government’s response so that, collectively, we can act on them.

Tom Symondson, Chief Executive Officer, ACCPA

Tom Symondson
ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson was honoured to receive a Global Ageing Influencer Award, presented by Dr The Honourable Lam Ching-choi, SBS, JP, Member of the Executive Council, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, The People’s Republic of China, CEO, Haven of Hope Christian Service, Hong Kong SAR China.

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