East coast study tour

2 December 2018

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Shaping the NDIS in South Australia

Sunday 2 December – Tuesday 4 December 2018 | Sydney & Nundah 

The South Australian Department of Industry and Skills has created an opportunity for a select group of service providers and change-makers from South Australia to learn more about how co-operatives and can help transform the NDIS and aged care through innovation and new business models.

The tour has been curated and led by the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM).

The East Coast Co-operatives Look and Learn Study Tour is a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from co-operative leaders on how co-operatives add diversity in human services markets with a special focus on sustainable market development in the NDIS and related areas like aged care.

Innovation and new ideas are what differentiates the South Australian economy. Through September and November this year, a great co-operator, Dr. Guy Turnbull has been the Thinker in Residence for the Don Dunstan Foundation. Reflecting Don Dunstan’s legacy as a change maker, Guy has helped to foster the latent talent and curiosity of the South Australian community to re-imagine an economy based on different models of citizen ownership. One of these models has been another South Australian first – the formation of  Kudos as Australia’s first employee-led mutual to form from the South Australian government to operate in the NDIS.

This study tour will focus on gaining insights and knowledge on how to apply the co-operative principles to design new co-operatives that meet the challenges of consumer directed services like the NDIS, giving Participants choice and control as well as creating and retaining employment opportunities in South Australia.

 Intended Tour Outcomes

  1. Understand the co-operative difference and the potential of co-operatives to increase diversity and choice in the NDIS market in South Australia
  2. Each participant enjoys the study tour and is able to apply the lessons learned to further strategic directions of their organisation
  3. The tour experience consolidates willing ambassadors who co-operatively help inform how member ownership and business acumen can transform health and human services and shape public policy in Australia

You are joining a group of 25 leaders and change-makers from a diverse range of South Australian service providers to:

  • Learn how well-designed co-operatives and mutuals can increase choice and control in the NDIS and related health and human services sectors.
  • Hear from co-operative leaders and entrepreneurs about how to establish and grow a successful co-operative
  • Gain insights from the UK Mutuals Program on how employee-led mutuals have increased trust and productivity in health and community services
  • Understand how different models of member ownership and social enterprise can differentiate your service offering for your staff and the people you serve
  • Learn how to incorporate the co-operative principles into legal and governance models
  • Develop understanding amongst public policy leaders and commissioners on how different models of member ownership can increase diversity between providers and help to achieve economic and social development goals

Your fellow participants include people from organisations working in personal care, community support, disability employment, allied health, plan management as well as those with special expertise in different disability types such as autism, brain injury and carers. Together, your interests and motivations for joining the tour embrace harnessing the place-based opportunities in urban as well as in rural and remote settings.

Tour highlights: what participants can expect to hear and from whom:

  • Co-operatives operating in 3 eastern seaboard states/territory of Queensland, NSW and ACT.
  • Host visits with co-operative leaders and change-makers from
    • Nundah Community Enterprise Co-operative
    • The Co-operative Life
    • SILC – Supported Independent Living Co-operative
    • Common Equity Housing NSW, and
    • National Health Co-operative
  • Tailored BCCM presentation with Get Mutual co-operative development tools and resources.
  • Outline of BCCM policy initiatives on co-operative and mutual development in human services

You will learn from our co-operative hosts:

“Co-operatives are the ideal legal structure for family governed homes for people with disabilities. Housemates pool their NDIS packages and part of their Disability Support Pensions to fund payments to support workers and other operating costs. Family members act as the Board and are actively involved in how the Home is run. SILC helps the groups of families learn from each other and supports them by providing services that they are unable to do themselves.” Steve Anthony, Founder SILC

“I am especially passionate about the NDIS. In my role at SILC, I am driven to ensure the Scheme is equitable and above all, sustainable. The SILC model has been co-designed by families, Participants and staff. It breaks through the barriers faced by people with disability and their families and aims to support them to find housing they are happy with and that meets their needs”. Faen Burrows, Chief Operating Officer, SILC

“Co-operatives and mutuals have the potential to re-imagine our economy. They do this by member ownership and applying the co-operative principles in designing business models that meet a need for their members – be they workers, consumers, communities, enterprises or a combination of each.” Melina Morrison – BCCM CEO

“The Nundah Co-op model has helped people who have difficulties finding employment get a job and keep it. This helps their self- esteem, so they can grow in the job which in turn, helps them lead ordinary lives in the community. We need more Nundah Co-operatives to achieve social and economic advancement in communities.” Richard Warner – Co-ordinator, Nundah Community Enterprise Co-operative

“The Co-operative Life is Australia’s first employee-owned co-operative in Australia. We formed as a co-operative because we were not satisfied with the quality of our jobs as care workers for other providers. We are a nimble networked group of support workers who deliver quality care and supports in aged care and the NDIS. We are a distributing co-operative which means our members – who are our employees – benefit from any surplus we make and thrive on exceeding the expectations of their customers”. Robyn Kaczmarek – Co-Founder and CEO, The Co-operative Life

“Common Equity NSW promotes housing co-operatives and is innovating with several new co-operative models. Our members are housing co-operatives each comprised of resident members. Our model is voted #1 in Australia by residents and particularly well suited to vulnerable groups seeking better outcomes from consumer directed funding such as homecare or the NDIS.” James Brown – CEO, Common Equity Housing

“The National Health Co-operative started because people in the ACT could not get access to GPs. So, the patients acted and formed a consumer owned co-operative that now employs the GPs and has expanded to other allied health professionals in Canberra and regional NSW. This is a citizen centric movement that combines good business practices with meeting a community need.” Blake Wilson – General Manager and Deputy CEO, National Health Co-operative


Browse the study tour photo gallery


2 December 2018




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