Plan B: How to fix a sector in crisis - Learnings from Leaders Summit Sydney 2022

Updated: Apr 6

For the first time in 2 years, Age Care and Retirement Village operators have been given the opportunity to discuss national strategy. Having focussed on the day to day during the pre vaccinated economy days of the pandemic, an operator led discussion about the future of Seniors Living in this country was long overdue. As the dust settles on the 2021 Royal Commission into Age Care quality and safety which highlighted chronic structural issues, a lack of staff training, staff shortages and falling revenues, the key premise of the summit was that the system is broken and urgently needs to be addressed, both to maintain the sustainability of the sector, and also to ensure that older Australians have access to the care and support that they need as they age.

It is all very well to highlight the failings of the Age Care sector but to address these issues requires money - at least a doubling of revenue to reach levels of funding in comparible OECD legislatures. The biggest failing of all has been that of successive federal governments failing to address revenue models in the fear of voter backlash.

The good news is that the money is there, and the models are there. We know what needs to be done. Seniors today, in comparison to younger people, are wealthier than at any other time in history. It is just a matter of equitably unlocking this wealth, and doing it in a way which gives back control to the customer. There is no reason why legislators could not unshackle the current restrictive revenue system in favour of broadening the net. The New Zealand model, whereby operators are able to charge a co-contribution, was pointed out as a successful model with a very high satisfaction rate and a much higher standard of care. Clearly, if you can offer age care workers a fair wage, standards will increase and this goes for all the other elements that go to make up the Sector.

This was a conference with a clear and unapologetic agenda. While this didactic approach may have risked alienating some, it was successful in focussing the narrative around contemporary continuum of care models, the failings of our current system and where the organisers perceive the sector should be moving. After all, in times of crisis unity is important or the sector risks having decisions made for it by inexperienced bureaucrats.

There was a sense that time is running out. For this reason the conference sought to offer a roadmap and talking points for operators to follow when discussing policy with their local members. If you would like to find out more about the conference, or what AkiiStudio can do to ensure the sustainability of your business from a built environment point of view, speak with us! We’d love to have a discussion with you about the future of your organisation.

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