Chairman & Managing Director Report

Independence Australia is a social enterprise that provides choices for people living with a disability or other personal need, enabling them to regain or retain their independence within a supportive community.

We provide core supports and health care consumables that assist people in their daily lives.

In January 2019 we launched our new strategic plan, which will lead the organisation through to 2022.  With the theme ‘Impact Matters’, the plan will guide the organisation as it strives to deliver a positive sustainable social impact for people living with a disability or other personal needs.

Vital supports were provided to over 700 Victorians living with a disability, with 400,000 hours of attendant care delivered through 140,000 occasions of service.

As the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) continued, our Community Services team retained more than 90% of customers that we transitioned over to the NDIS. In support of the NDIS roll out, Independence Australia conducted the Upskill for NDIS Support Coordinators Program, developed in partnership with the Summer Foundation. This project aims to help meet the Government’s 2025 goal of a 50% reduction in the number of people under 65 being admitted to aged care.

This year we broadened the reach of our information resource Inform, connecting more than 10,000 Australians living with a disability and their families to vital services and supports within their communities through our national online information hub, podcast series and print magazine.

We have introduced a new Psychology and Counselling program to our already diverse range of offerings; the Grief and Loss Program, developed to support people with an intellectual disability living in shared supported accommodation deal with the loss of a fellow resident who has passed away. Furthermore, three new bespoke services were launched, consisting of the Peer Led Support Program, Host Family Payment Administration and Independent Living Options.

Independent Living Options is an independent living support program for people with very high needs living in the community. Developed in response to a lack of measurable outcomes being delivered from existing supports, the new service launched by Independence Australia in June 2019 delivers specific outcomes directly aligned to participant’s goals.

We have continued to grow our national social enterprise Health Solutions, delivering over half million orders across Australia over the past year. We experienced a 17.5% increase in total sales with very strong growth in community and online sales as more and more customers transition to our digital platform.  We pride ourselves on offering great value, personalised service and exceptional choice from our wide range of 10,000 health care products to over 200,000 customers across Australia.

To support our continued growth, we relocated our South Australian and New South Wales distribution centres. These major projects were completed successfully due to the combined efforts of a number of teams who worked in unison to deliver a well-executed project with minimal impact to our customers. As a result, our SA and NSW operations are now better equipped to support future growth within these markets.

We expanded our Nursing Education Days to Western Australia and South Australia, creating a truly national program of events. This exciting development was made possible due to our close collaboration with key health industry experts and the ongoing support of our industry partners. The increased scale and reach has enabled us to deliver high quality health education programs and industry networking opportunities to over 800 healthcare professionals across Australia.

There were a number of other highlights during the year including:

  • The annual Daddo Charity Golf Day, which ran for its 14th consecutive year, brought together industry partners and supporters to raise a record profit of more than $64,000 which will support unfunded programs such as the Psychology and Counselling service
  • Successful certification against the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System and Department of Health & Human Services Human Services Standards
  • The first Accessible Beach Weekend held at Altona Beach 
  • The launch of our online learning portal, Learn Your Way!
  • The launch of our first television commercial in South Australia. 

The Board and Executive Management Team would like to express their appreciation to our partners, including the Transport Accident Commission, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Commonwealth Department of Health, National Disability Insurance Agency, Western Australian Department of Communities, Queensland Health, Ballarat Health Services, The Summer Foundation and other community-based partner organisations.

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 enabling them to regain and retain their independence within a supportive community.