Chair and CEO Report.

Welcome to our Annual Report for 2021. On behalf of our Directors, Staff and Volunteers, we invite you to look through this report and share in the achievements of AQA people in pursuit of our purpose.

Fair to say 2021 has been a year of relentless challenge and change, as we have navigated the Community and Public Health Response to the CoVid19 pandemic.

We want to recognise the commitment, flexibility and resilience of all our staff and volunteers, and the parts they have played negotiating this time.

We thank all our people for continuing to support the Clients and Community we serve. In this context the achievements of the year are remarkable.

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Board committee reports

Quality & Risk

The Quality and Risk Committee works to empower our people and to empower our clients through supplying robust risk and compliance advice to the Board.

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The Strategy Committee met four times and despite Covid-19 were able to plan the direction of AQA in line with the AQA Strategy House developed in 2020.

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Finance & Audit

The Finance & Audit Committee reviews the financial performance of the organisation and works with the Executive to challenge systems and processes.

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Key Numbers


Hours of in-home and in-community service delivered


Community Network gatherings facilitated


Hours of Support Coordination delivered


Active peer mentors and other volunteers


Hours of peer led and allied health services delivered


Volunteer hours contributed


The path to refreshing our brand language and resetting our strategy brought enhanced appreciation of our strengths and a broader understanding of our mission. Our Living Well project pioneered a more integrated and powerful approach to resourcing people from lived experience, and the expansion of our Allied Health team extended our services menu.

Strategy and brand language.

After a deep dive into the history of our organisation and some reflecting on why we do what we do, we have revised our brand language and articulated three strategic pillars that support our intention to scale our impact. The revised brand language expresses our purpose as Resourcing People to Live Well. Our focus on resourcing, and our elevating of those we resource, from people living with spinal-cord injury to people generally, draws from our peer-led understanding that each of us may contribute to those who contribute to us.

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Living Well project.

​​The Living Well project seeks to build on practice that is both informed and delivered by people with lived experience of spinal cord injury or a similar disability. Activities founded on goal-setting, strength identification and skills building are delivered in the participant's community, and are designed to enhance their capacity to live well and fully. The project aims help people with spinal cord injury or similar disability who will benefit via one or more of: Participate and contribute to design, planning and coordination via a Lived Experience Advisory Panel  (LEAP) Experience the capacity building as Trainers and or Group Leaders...

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Allied health expansion .

​​Over 2020-21 we have made good on our intention to develop an allied health service that is informed from lived experience. A team of six support coordinators and occupational therapists is building its reputation on its capacity to accommodate complex circumstances and deliver impartial advice.

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Sharing experience.

People in the AQA community resource one another through sharing their experience. They might do so through our Peer Mentor program, as Peer Coaches for our personal development workshop Discovering the Power in Me, in meeting face to face and online through our Community Networks, or in contributing and sourcing powerful stories published on our website and in our free bimonthly magazine, NewsLink. Magazine remake Over most of our history, AQA has published a bimonthly newsletter or magazine, NewsLink, that brings readers relevant news and helps people to empower others through sharing experience. Over 2021 we have resourced production of...

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Meet Our Board

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.

Michelle O'Sullivan

BSW, Social Work; Grad Dip Rehab; Mast App.Sc, ISM
Chairperson; Convenor of the Governance Committee

Michelle was introduced to AQA through her work at the Transport Accident Commission, where for many years she managed clients with acquired brain injury or spinal cord injury. Over that part of her career she was most engaged by the opportunity to resource people as they realised their passions and developed their potential after injury.

Michelle sees AQA’s values and peer-based philosophy as aligned very closely with her own. Michelle has a sound background in industrial relations, and is experienced in not-for-profit governance, organisational development, employee management, and State Government compliance.

Board Member since April 2013

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David Schreuder

B.Sc/LLB (Victorian Legal Practising Certificate 2021) ​Deputy Chairperson; Member of the Quality & Risk Committee

David is keenly aware of how valuable AQA resources can be, having observed the profound ways in which a mid-life equestrian accident affected his father. He has preferred to work in environments where there is a clear social purpose, and has extensive legal, regulatory and compliance experience across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, in Australia and the United Kingdom.

David is Registrar of Housing Agencies & Director of the Office of the Housing Registrar, and responsible for the regulation of community housing providers in Victoria.

Board Member since March 2014

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Srini Vasan

Treasurer; Member of the Finance & Audit Committee

Srini is a senior corporate professional with diverse experience in global companies across financial services, retail and in Local Government and Not For Profit sectors. Srini has a sound background in financial, strategic and M&A matters with expertise in the development and execution of business change strategies and transformation.

He has strong leadership and mentoring skills, with the demonstrated ability to motivate and inspire teams to performance targets and has a history of working effectively in cross-functional / cross-cultural environments.

Board Member since November 2022

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Dave Jacka

Order of Australia Medal (OAM)
Company Secretary; Member of the Quality & Risk Committee

Dave is passionate about challenging community perceptions of what a person living with disability can achieve through doing things differently – perhaps by designing innovative engineering solutions, or engaging community support for an adventure.

Dave represented Australia at the 1996 Paralympics in wheelchair rugby, and has since flown a light aircraft solo around Australia and paddled the 2226 km length of the Murray River in a kayak. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2015, for his contribution to people with a disability through sport. He has been living with quadriplegia from a spinal cord injury since 1988.

David has worked in consultancy and government sectors across engineering, project management and governance disciplines. He is an adventurer, author, and speaker, and he volunteers with AQA as a Peer Mentor.

Board Member since May 2017

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Joe Rose’Meyer

Convenor of the Strategy & Innovation Committee

Joe has served the AQA Board in committee roles since 2012, having been invited to contribute from his business experience. Through his associations with other inspiring personalities working with AQA, he has become passionate about creating opportunities so that anyone with a disability can grow, develop and experience life to its fullest. He joined the Board as a Director in 2019.

Joe has a background in Sales, Marketing, Value Based Commercialisation, and Strategy Development and Implementation. He has worked for large FMCG retailers and manufacturers, among them Coles Myer, SPC Ardmona and Coca-Cola Amatil, and has been President of SMART Networking Group. He is General Manager of Australia’s leading organic health foods and products distributor.

Board Member since July 2019

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Kylie Thitchener

Convenor of the 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. She is also a Board Director of the East Wimmera Health Service.

Kylie is a healthcare professional who specialises 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

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Brydie Quinn

Master of Public Policy and Management
Member of the Strategy & Innovation Committee

Brydie is passionate about providing opportunities to people living with disabilities, and has a particular interest in engaging frontline workers through increased education, supervision supports, and the application of frameworks in practice.

Brydie is the Chief Operating Officer at Able Australia and has more than a decade of experience as a Director in Victoria’s public hospitals, tackling issues of patient flow and access, quality and risk management, and transition supports. Prior to this, she held strategic advisory and project roles with the Victorian Department of Health and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Board Member since February 2021

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Jessica Griffin-Achmad

Member of AQA Quality and Risk Committee

Jessica is a regulatory compliance and risk specialist who is passionate about delivering community outcomes. Jessica is currently a Regulation Manager at the Department of Treasury and Finance, regulating community housing providers to ensure low income Victorians can access housing that meets their needs. Jessica was previously the Secretary of a community life saving club.

Board Member since November 2022

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Empowering ourpeople.

The phrase our people paints with a broad brush at AQA, encompassing our lived-experience volunteers and coaches, other volunteers and pro-bono contributors, our office staff, and our extensive roster of community staff who bring so much dedication and commitment to resourcing our clients. This year our Living Well project piloted a training program for people living with spinal cord injury that would prepare them to be Peer Leaders at Living Well residential courses. We engaged our volunteer Peer Mentors in more than 1500 hours of support and debriefing sessions, and trained 10 new team members. We developed an Occupational Health...

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Digital TransformetProject.

Despite a few setbacks, AQA's Digital Transformation is back on track and is gearing towards a successful implementation and roll out of our Go-Live with Rostering, Payroll, Finance, and CRM. Per current planning and schedule of activities and events we anticipate our go live to be July 2022. The setbacks and delays resulting in timeline push-outs have been primarily driven by the pandemic, and the unique functionality of the previous rostering platform required us to venture out again in the market for a more capable system.

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Website development.

Over 2020-21 we redeveloped in-house our longstanding website at, which had previously functioned as a thin gateway that directed people either to our then services site or to our lived-experience resource site at A key objective was to introduce our services and our lived-experience resources together at a single virtual location, reflecting the integration that was taking place in the office under our strategy revision. There was also an opportunity to express AQA's statement of purpose graphically through the banner image of a man connecting with a child from a wheelchair. The image is rich in ambiguity, and...

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Enhancing ouraccessibility.

Telephone support for AQA in-home services has always been available 24-hours. However, this year we have extended the accessibility to our clients of the in-office Scheduling and Allocations team at AQA, which is now available from 8:30am to 9pm weekdays. Clients and support workers alike have welcomed the enhanced communication and more direct support

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Strategic pillars

Three strategic pillars support our intention to scale our impact: Create experiences that empower our clients; Empower our people to be more effective; Build our sustainability. Our reciprocal approach to resourcing presents us with pillars that are mutually reinforcing: for example, clients whom we resource may also be people who resource other clients.

Our Partners

Funding bodies
  • 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
  • Workwell
  • Global Leadership Foundation
  • The Robert Rose Foundation
Legal Services
  • Clayton Utz
Event sponsors
  • Miles Real Estate
  • Hollister
Corporate Supporters
  • Hollister
  • Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Financial Report

The Full Financial Reports for the financial year 2020/21 including a summary of significant accounting policies, other explanatory notes and declaration from Directors and Auditors are located on the AQA website, and can be opened from the image below.

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