Chief Executive Officer update - April 2024

Image: Terry Symonds Yooralla CEO


Welcome to this month’s edition of News@Yooralla.

It was fantastic to see everyone having the best day at the Melbourne Zoo for our annual client celebration on 14 March!

It was a jam-packed event, full of incredible presentations and performances from our clients, sharing the highlights of their achievements throughout 2023.

Our Big Day out is a great opportunity to reconnect with our community outside of sites and services. Our aim for this gathering is to get everyone out and about and enjoy a variety of choices on the day. Inside the Zoo’s Leopard Lodge, we enjoyed activities including a photobooth, facepainting and a magician, or attendees could wander around the different areas of the Zoo and engage with Zookeeper talks. We were so lucky to have had beautiful weather so people could picnic outside.

Thanks to everyone who was part of the event, whether you attended, performed, volunteered, organised! The day would not be the success that it was without you. You can check out all the fun, with pictures and videos on our website.

I am also so pleased to welcome new members to the Yooralla community. On March 18, Inclusion Foundation’s Impact21 program transferred to Yooralla.

Impact21, now known as Impact, is an innovative program, designed by Inclusion Foundation, to support individuals with Down Syndrome who are looking for work in open employment settings, through Customised Employment. It offers exploration, meaningful matching, and on-the-job training for participants to secure employment with partners at the completion of the program.

We have welcomed Impact21 graduates in employment trials and one Impact21 graduate is now in an administrative role in our head office. We are excited to continue the great work of Inclusion Foundation in partnering with organisations and businesses to provide employment opportunities for people with intellectual disability. You can read more about Impact on our website.

Last week, Minister for the NDIS, The Hon Bill Shorten MP, tabled the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024.

The changes proposed as part of the Bill address the priority recommendations from the recent NDIS review. When introducing the Bill to Parliament, Minister Shorten indicated that its purpose is to secure the future of the NDIS. He highlighted that the recommendations include a person-centred process; that there will be no change to the definition of ‘reasonable and necessary’ and the budget setting process will make clear what can and cannot be funded through the scheme. Improving quality outcomes was another focus. He has also assured the public that changes to the scheme will not take effect until consultation, design and new NDIS rules have been developed.

It is still early days, with the Bill yet to be passed by Parliament. Yooralla will continue to advocate for our clients. We will continue to share as much information as possible, so keep an eye on our social media for any news.

For those observing, I hope that you have been able to celebrate and participate in the significant religious and cultural days this past month with your community.

Stay safe and well.

Terry Symonds
Chief Executive officer

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