Chairman and Managing Director Report

The past year was marked by the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) across North-Eastern Metropolitan Melbourne. We are pleased to report that we successfully transitioned 95% of our existing eligible in-home service clients across to the Scheme, thanks to the concerted efforts of our Community Solutions team.

Our social enterprise, Health Solutions, continues to provide much needed financial support to our core charitable purpose, and despite strong competition in the market place, we have continued to grow our customer base across Australia. This growth necessitated a relocation of our Tasmania and Western Australia warehouses, to accommodate our expanding operations.

Independence Australia works closely with a range of stakeholders. Since 2009 we have been hosting Nursing Education Days in collaboration with industry partners. These events have delivered industry insights, networking opportunities and the latest product information to healthcare professionals in Melbourne and Geelong over many years. We were therefore very pleased to host our inaugural interstate Education Day in Tasmania, in association with the Tasmanian Health Services North West Spinal and Continence Service. The event also offered disability support workers and carers the opportunity to hear from eminent speakers who gave practical information on caring for people living with a disability.

Our training organisation, Field, also had an exceptional year, with strong growth in student enrolments and increased levels of student engagement and satisfaction. Field has continued its focus on the development and delivery of new training solutions, to assist the disability and aged care sectors.

As a relatively large, growing organisation that touches the daily lives of many people across Australia, there were many other highlights throughout the year including:

  • The launch of a new Group Counselling program in regional Victoria (Ballarat and Shepparton) in partnership with S.P.I.R.E
  • Coordination of two new recreation camps; a Ski Camp for people with Spinal Cord Injuries and Bush Camp for Young People with Spina Bifida
  • Development of the new “Mind Your Spine” educational application
  • The annual Independence Australia Daddo Charity Golf Day, which ran for its 12th consecutive year, continued its success bringing together industry partners and supporters to raise more than $50,000 to support unfunded programs such as the Psychology and Counselling service
  • Successful completion of our surveillance audit against the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System and Department of Health & Human Services Human Services Standards, with no non-conformances.

During 2016/17 two of our long-standing Directors, Elizabeth Jones and Peter Daddo stepped down from the Board, each having made a significant contribution to the success of the organisation during their tenure. We would like to take the opportunity to formally acknowledge their valuable, lasting contributions.

The Board and Executive Management Team would like to expresses our deep gratitude to our partners, including the Transport Accident Commission, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs, National Disability Insurance Agency, Western Australian Disability Services Commission, Ballarat Health Services, Queensland Health and various local governments and other community-based partner organisations including Annecto, AQA Victoria, E.W Tipping Foundation and many others.

We also extend our gratitude to the trusts, foundations, corporations and countless individuals for generously supporting our work over the past year.

Our success is testament to the efforts of our entire team, who are committed to ensuring that we continue to support people living with a disability or other need to regain and retain their independence.

Thank you.