By October 14, 2020News

Reflections: Celebrating my first year as CEO of Achieve Australia

Recently, I was proud to celebrate my first work anniversary as CEO of Achieve Australia. I would like to share just a few of the highlights with you in this post.

Celebrating one year
As I reflect on my first year as CEO, there have been plenty of new and exciting opportunities, but there were also some challenges and difficult decisions that had to be made. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant impact on the way we all live, work and connect with others.

For many of our clients and families, this time has been particularly hard. The temporary closures of some of our services and new visitor precautions that we implemented have not been easy. By working closely with our clients, families and staff, we have adapted and developed new ways to help ensure everyone is safe and connected.

I am proud to say that we have also maintained a focus on ensuring clients are happy and thriving during this time. The My Life at Home program has helped many clients, who were impacted due to the temporary service closures at our day programs, stay active and engaged.

A united sector
By joining forces with our colleagues in Alliance20, a collective of Australia’s largest disability service providers, Achieve Australia has been at the forefront in speaking up for people with disability during COVID-19. By sharing knowledge and information on our direct response to COVID-19, we have been able to help even more people with disability across the country.

As a key contributor to Alliance 20 we continue to meet regularly with the Minister for Disability, Stuart Robert MP, and senior members of the NDIA, to provide feedback and advice on the decisions that matter to our clients and families. I am pleased to see these strategic alliances continuing into the future.

2020-2023 Strategic Plan
In September, I launched Achieve Australia’s new Strategic Plan for 2020-2023, which was developed in collaboration with our Board, Executive and Senior Leadership teams. The plan sets the direction for Achieve Australia over the next three years, building on the great work that has been done so far.

During the creation of the plan, we drew on insights from our clients, their families, frontline staff, community partners, and industry thought leaders. We did this to include the voice and aspirations of the people we serve into our plans for the future. Central to our plan is a focus on bringing inclusion to life through excellent practice and great customer outcomes.

The upcoming launch of The Achieve Foundation will provide the opportunity to build on evidence-based practices through innovation and research. Together with our launch earlier in the year of Inclusive Housing Australia (IHA), we continue to invest in innovative initiatives to enhance the lives of the people we support. At the recent Global Talks family forum, everyone had the opportunity to hear more about the new plan via Zoom.

NDIS Accreditation
Every three years, NDIS providers must renew their registration to ensure we comply with relevant legislation and standards. This also allows the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to review our supports and services. Our NDIS Accreditation is currently ongoing, with clients and families also invited to be interviewed as part of the process. As an organisation, continuous improvement and ongoing feedback is essential for us to continue to enhance our services for people with disability.

Disability Royal Commission
The Disability Royal Commission continues its vital work to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, now and into the future. Following a Statement of Concern issued in March 2020, the Commission held a public hearing to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on people with disability. With more people speaking out, new measures can be put in place to protect the rights, safety and fair treatment of people with disability during a pandemic, or any other crisis situation.

Looking forward to a bright future
During this time, stories of hope and inspiration remind us all of our resilience and our connection to one another. One such story is about Hannah Ostle, who has been awarded The Fred Hollow’s Foundation 2020 Helping Hand Award for her extraordinary contribution to volunteering.

Hannah has been volunteering at The Foundation for the past 18 years and has made an incredible difference to the lives of others. Hannah’s story reminds us all about the importance of inclusive communities where people with disability have the opportunity to contribute, follow their passions and be included. You can read more about Hannah’s story in the latest spring edition of Enable magazine.

Over the coming months, I am looking forward to visiting more services to see our clients and staff on the frontline once again. While my first year as CEO has been challenging at times, there is hope for a bright future ahead as we continue to adapt and innovate.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank every one of our clients, families, staff and industry colleagues for working together to protect the people we support, and for demonstrating such resilience at this time. Together we can and will get through this.


Jo-Anne Hewitt
Chief Executive Officer

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