21st June 2024

Understanding the New Aged Care Act and Its Impact on Providers



Anchor Excellence

The ACCPA NSW/ACT State Conference kicked off with a warm and heartfelt Welcome to Country by Auntie Norma Ingram, an Aboriginal Elder and proud Wiradjuri woman. Her emphasis on the importance of culture and eldership really set a meaningful tone for the event. Then, The Honourable Ryan Mark MP shared a surprising statistic: one in four people in NSW are aged 65 and above! He talked about the state’s comprehensive strategy that includes virtual health care and a nationwide falls prevention program. Mark highlighted how the new Aged Care Act, which will replace the 1997 legislation, aims to better support the health and well-being of older Australians.

Key Insights from the Panel Discussion

Tom Symondson, CEO of ACCPA, led an enlightening panel discussion titled “The New Aged Care Act and What it Means for Providers.” The panel featured some incredible experts: Roald Versteeg (General Manager of Policy and Advisory at ACCPA), Arthur Koumoukelis (Partner at Thomson Geer), Lucy O’Flaherty (CEO of Columbia Aged Care), Richard de Haast (CEO of Scalabrini), and Angie Robinson (National Executive Advisor Home Care at Calvary Care). Here’s what they had to say:

Timeline and Implementation

Roald Versteeg mentioned that while regulations are still being set, we might see a Senate inquiry lasting three to six months. They’re aiming for a tentative implementation date in the first week of July 2025. However, there’s still some uncertainty about the Support at Home program.

Legal and Operational Preparedness

Arthur Koumoukelis talked about concerns around criminal penalties, emphasising that providers need to understand their obligations to avoid systematic failures. Lucy O’Flaherty shared her proactive approach, which includes gap analysis and creating roadmaps for various scenarios. She stressed the importance of optimism and positive leadership.

Business-as-Usual with Preparations

Richard de Haast recommended sticking with business as usual until the Act is finalised but highlighted the importance of internal reviews and preparing facility managers and their teams. Angie Robinson discussed the need for agility and responsiveness, touching on the challenges of redesigning service delivery in light of new legislation.

Building Community Trust and Accountability

The panel also explored how to build community trust and accountability within the aged care sector. Roald Versteeg spoke about unintended consequences of criminal and civil penalties, stressing the need for a quality system fit for purpose. Arthur Koumoukelis discussed perceptions around profiteering in aged care, emphasising effective use of funds to deliver quality services. Lucy O’Flaherty highlighted positive leadership’s role in instilling faith within the community and among staff. Richard de Haast pointed out that adapting to new opportunities and challenges presented by legislation is crucial.

Future Directions and Audience Interaction

The discussion wrapped up with reflections on the future of aged care services. Lucy O’Flaherty mentioned how important language is when engaging with other stakeholders, including commercial opportunities with health and technology sectors. She boldly predicted that residential aged care (RAC) will cease to exist in 10 years! Richard de Haast agreed with her vision, noting a shift from traditional aged care settings to more home-based care models. Angie Robinson was recognised as a future leader in this transformative shift.


The session offered valuable insights into the forthcoming Aged Care Act and its implications for providers. It underscored the need for proactive leadership, adaptability, and a commitment to delivering quality care. While new legislation presents challenges, it also brings significant opportunities. Providers must stay informed and prepared for these changes ahead. The panel reinforced continuous improvement’s importance along with innovation in the aged care sector.

The ACCPA NSW/ACT State Conference was an engaging start to what promises to be a transformative period in aged care. Providers should embrace upcoming changes with a proactive mindset to ensure they deliver top-notch care to older Australians.