Chair and CEO Report
The year in review
What a year 2020 has been! The AQA community responded to the CoVid-19 crisis with commitment and courage. View the challenges and highlights as captured in our AQA 2020 Celebration video diary.
Community Networks gather remotely
AQA Portal opens for business
A global pandemic threw some sand into the gears of our Digital Transformation Project, and yet spurred us to accelerate the roll-out of key elements. Among those were the AQA Portal, which our community-based support workers can already use to indicate their availability for additional shifts.
Peer Coaching starts with wheelchair skills
AQA is building a Peer Coaching program in which trained coaches work with people negotiating a range of challenges.
Average number of client visits, per day
Hours of in-home and in-community service
Hours of Support Coordination (NDIS)
Peer resourced information requests
Active peer mentors and other volunteers
Peer support engagements
Services extended and strengthened
We've embarked on development of an Allied Health service, an initiative led by Emma O'Brien, and we've added depth to our rapidly growing NDIS Support Coordination service, which will draw strength from the skills and lived experience of Georgina Fiorentino. Find out more about these initiatives from our 2020 Celebration video and in the October 2020 edition of NewsLink.
Discovering the Power in Me
In 2020 for the first time we offered our personal development workshop Discovering the Power in Me as a fundable course - and delivered a successful program remotely.
Paralympics two-time gold medallist Ryley Batt, OAM, was a special guest, sharing how goal-setting helps him follow his dreams.
"DPM has helped me to be more goal oriented, how to pursue that goal and be more assertive with others about how I am going to achieve that goal."
"DPM opened my eyes to seeing that I am worthy of being successful in life & not to let my injury hold me back to what I want to achieve in my life."
Community staff: 423
Years of service:
Less than five - 377.
Five to ten - 30.
More than ten - 16.
Office staff: 38
Years of service:
Less than one - 13.
One to five - 18.
More than five - 11.
People & Culture
Enjoy the Thank-You video that AQA staff and clients produced to show appreciation for the commitment of support workers.
New ways to chat
An instant-message tool arrived with the accelerated roll-out of cloud-based software that helped office staff collaborate remotely.
Digital Transformation Program
Peer mentors and other volunteers play big roles
At AQA, volunteers play a huge part in what we do. We are fortunate we have a wide range of volunteers - with and without a disability - who support us in various ways. They are passionate about the work they do.
Not only do we rely on volunteers with lived-experience of disability, we also have volunteers with specific skills such as video editing, website development, and journalism.
Having a spinal cord injury or other challenging condition, from either a traumatic or a non-traumatic event, can change your life forever. You may feel like all your dreams have gone out the door. You don’t know what tomorrow will look like. This is where our volunteer peer mentors step in.
Our peer mentors are put through a training program developed in partnership with the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre. Peer mentors have a spinal cord injury and have returned to their communities.
They can share their experiences of independence, returning to work, school, travel, relationships, equipment modifications and sport, to name a few.
Our mentors visit people with newly acquired spinal cord injuries as they go through rehabilitation, sharing information and helping people with motivation, encouragement and guidance. This relationship continues after the peer returns to his or her community.
Video support: Richard Balsille
The speed and story judgment of video producer and editor Richard Balsille were in even greater demand than usual this year, as we sought to connect the AQA community while under lockdown.
Richard has been working with AQA for more than five years, having begun in 2015.
"In this time, I have met some amazing and truly inspiring people, and it is a great privilege to know them and to help share their stories," Richard says.
Tech strength: Emmanuel Tissera
AQA is proud to have support from website developer Emmanuel Tissera, who more than five years ago built the AQA Spire website.
This year, Spire platform Umbraco added Emmanuel to its list of Most Valuable People, making him one of just 61 MVPs worldwide.
"I still spend way too much time on the Spire site because it is very inspirational," he says.
BSW, Social Work; Grad Dip Rehab; Mast App.Sc, ISM
Chairperson; 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
Member of Quality & Risk Committee
BN, MHSM (Mon), MAICD
Convenor of Quality & Risk Committee
B.Sc/LLB (Victorian Legal Practising Certificate 2020)
Company Secretary; Member of Quality & Risk Committee
Board member since March 2014
B.Nut.Diet (Monash), MBA (MBS)
Member of Strategy Committee
MBM / DipMA
Convenor of Strategy Committee
Treasurer; Convenor of Finance & Audit Committee
- National Disability Insurance Agency – individual support packages to people with disabilities
- Transport Accident Commission – individual support packages to people with disabilities, and innovation project funding
Industry and Project Associates
- Austin Health - Victorian Spinal Cord Service
- Alfred Health - Caulfield General Medical Centre
- Transport Accident Commission
- Independence Australia
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (NSW)
- Spinal Life Australia (QLD)
- Paraquad NSW
- Paraquad South Australia
- Paraquad Tasmania
- Disability Sport & Recreation
Industry and Project Associates, cont.
- LaTrobe University
- Monash University
- Swinburne University
- Wendy Brooks & Partners
- Global Leadership Foundation
- Clayton Utz
- Miles Real Estate
- Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
The Full Financial Reports for the financial year 2019/20 including a summary of significant accounting policies, other explanatory notes and declaration from Directors and Auditors are located on the AQA website.