Who we are

AQA is a member-based not-for-profit organisation and a registered public company limited by guarantee. For more than 30 years, we have been supporting people with complex neuromuscular disorders to live well and contribute to others.

Our Vision

A world in which everyone feels confident that they will be able to live fully in the event that they must contend with a profoundly disabling injury or illness.

Our Purpose

AQA exists so that people's experience of living with a complex neuromuscular disorder can support others.

Our History

Formed in January 1987 from the Melbourne office of the Australian Quadriplegic Association, which had operated it as a subsidised workplace, AQA Victoria Ltd rapidly built a highly respected and peer-led attendant care business, established an information hub, and pioneered a peer-support outreach service in collaboration with Austin Health. 

Over the past decade we have expanded the scope of the supports we provide to clients across a broad spectrum of complex neuromuscular and other disorders. We have trained an extensive register of peer mentors and coaches, whose services are available informally and through the NDIS. We have taken our information service and bimonthly newsletter online through our Spire website. And we continue to sustain more than 400 support workers from diverse backgrounds with meaningful employment.  

A Thematic History of AQA

1. How AQA got its name

AQA began as a branch office for the Australian Quadriplegic Association. Ordered to cut ties, it cheekily adapted the parent’s branding.

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2. The founding of AQA services

AQA began to deliver individualised in-home services in 1991 through the Qualcare respite program, led by polio survivor Mary Reid OAM. 

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3. The friendly organisation

From its earliest days, AQA stood out as a place where people could find supportive relationships when facing grievous life-changes.

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4. Pioneering peer support

How compassionate visits to spinal-injury wards grew into an extensive network of trained peer-support mentors and coaches.

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5. From shelter to innovator

Led by Peter Trethewey, AQA is seeking to build appreciation for the skills people gain from living through profoundly challenging events.

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Our Projects

Peer Coaching

Peer coaching is a natural extension of peer support that focuses on specific areas such as health, mobility or employment. Led by Nazim Erdem OAM, it is delivered by trained coaches with significant experience of living with a spinal cord injury and success in their area of coaching. The overall aim is to help people develop skills, frame expectations, make decisions, and explore their potential.

Community and Regional Networks

At AQA, we believe that people can benefit from sharing their experiences of life with a spinal cord injury or similar disability. We have been establishing community networks that help people extend knowledge, enjoy social events, and enhance community participation. Led by Peter Van Benthem, this project aims to expand our regional and interest-based networks and support them to become self-sustaining.

Allied Health

AQA is committed to extending the range of services we provide through our individualised service partnership packages to include allied health services such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and dietetics. The goal of each new service developed in this project, led by Emma O'Brien, will be to help participants in the AQA community build the capacity to live in fulfilling, contributing ways. 

Digital Transformation

AQA is rolling out a Digital Transformation Program that will equip our people with capable and intuitive tools to help them perform, collaborate, excel and innovate. Led by Tushar Kelkar, this project will harness new software systems and provide an integrated business and operational solution for the whole of AQA. It will make AQA business processes much more efficient and direct, shifting the focus from processes to our customers and other users.

Story Sharing and Public Engagement

Inspiring narratives abound in all corners of the AQA community, where people representing a broad spectrum of backgrounds support one another to live authentically. Led by Ian Baker, AQA's public engagement project seeks to facilitate the sharing of these stories among AQA participants and the broader community.

Our Board

Michelle O'Sullivan
BSW, Social Work; Grad Dip Rehab; Mast App.Sc, ISM​​
Convenor of Governance Committee

Michelle has worked in Government, NFP and community health, and has an interest in the role community has to play in health management and engagement. Michelle also has a sound background in industrial relations from both management and union perspectives. Michelle is experienced in not-for-profit governance, organisational development, employee management, and State Government compliance. Currently Michelle is Director, Organisational Transformation, at MIND Australia.

Board member since April 2013

Dave Jacka 
Member of Quality & Risk Committee

David is experienced working in consultancy and government sectors across engineering, project management and governance disciplines and is currently an SCI Peer Support volunteer, motivational speaker and adventurer. Living with SCI since 1988, David has competed at the Paralympics in wheelchair rugby, flown solo around Australia, and paddled the 2226 km length of the Murray River in a kayak. David was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to people with a disability through sport.

David is passionate about challenging community perceptions of what a person with a disability can achieve by doing things differently, through the design of innovative engineering solutions or engaging the support of people within the community to help achieve his adventures.

Board member since May 2017

Kylie Thitchener 
Convenor of Quality & Risk Committee

Kylie is the Director of Quality and Patient Safety at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She works with Peter MacCallum stakeholders to implement strategies to reduce the frequency of preventable adverse events. Kylie is a health care professional who specialised in clinical governance and enterprise risk management in the acute health sector. With extensive experience in both the clinical and non-clinical environments including project management, quality improvement, leadership and management of teams, Kylie strives to utilise teams to improve service delivery aimed at providing better health outcomes and experiences for patients. Kylie began as an emergency nurse before focusing on risk management. She holds a Masters in Health Services Management and has worked in hospitals in Australia and the United States.

Board member since July 2019

David Schreuder 
Company Secretary, 
Member of Quality & Risk Committee

David has nine years' legal and compliance experience across the private and public sectors in Australia and overseas. David is a senior solicitor for the Department of Treasury and Finance and has extensive government and commercial experience.

Board member since March 2014

Alexia Myrtle 
B.Nut.Diet (Monash), MBA (MBS)​​
​Member of Strategy Committee

Alexia is a management consultant who specialises in organisational change and design. Alexia is experienced in working in the health, education and finance industries. Prior to consulting, Alexia worked in health care for eight years in Australia and the UK.

Board member since September 2017

Joe Rose'Meyer 
​Convenor of Strategy Committee

Joe has a background in Sales, Marketing, Value Based Commercialisation and Strategy Development and Implementation. He has worked for large FMCG Retailers and Manufacturers including Coles Myer, SPC Ardmona and Coca-Cola Amatil. He has been President of SMART Networking Group and is currently National Sales Manager with a food manufacturer. Joe holds a Masters of Business Management and a Diploma of Business Marketing.

Board member since July 2019

AQA Victoria Ltd (AQA) is a registered, public company limited by guarantee. The company has a constitution which outlines the organisation's key objectives and matters relating to membership, the appointment process of directors and their duties, scope of activities under which the board directors may act and procedural matters pertaining to the conduct of meetings.

The constitution makes provision for appointment of nine (9) board directors. All positions are honorary appointments. The board currently comprises six non-executive directors. Appointment of directors is made on the basis of skill, experience and empathy with people with disability.

All directors are aware of their obligations in relation to declaring conflicts and interests. Standing items at each board meeting include provision for amendments and updating of declarations prior to Board decisions and Directors make an annual declaration of interests to the Company's independent auditors. 
The board meets monthly and convenes four committees to support the good governance of the organisation:
  • Finance & Audit
  • Quality & Risk
  • Governance
  • Strategy

Each committee operates under terms of reference and annual work plans that address strategic priorities, contribute to the Board's assurance framework and make recommendations to the Board. All Directors serve on at least one committee.

Annual Reports

Financial Reports

Workplace Gender Equality Reports

Constitution, Strategy, Policies