Rural Lifestyle Options Australia Annual Report 2017 - 2018

Rural Lifestyle Options Australia


Aerial view of neighbouring farmland near the town of Murwillumbah, New South Wales 2 Rural Lifestyle Options Australia

table of Contents

4 who we are 5 chair ANd CEO update 6 financial performance 7 social impact plan 2018 - 2020 8 governed by experience 9 the future is here

10 your impact 11 our services 12 timeline 1993 - 2018

14 our impact statement 15 marketing snapshot 16 what our workforce is saying... 17 staff snapshot 18 helping hands 19 our plan for reconciliation 20 ndis success stories 23 feel good february 24 thank you to our supporters 25 how to support us

Annual Report 2016 3 Annual Report 2017 - 2018 3


The story of Rural Lifestyle Options Australia began over 36 years ago when a group of families established a self-help group when their children who are now adults were toddlers. In those early years this was their only support network however through their hard work, passion, drive and commitment Rural Lifestyle Options Australia was established.

our purpose


We exist to enrich the lives of people with a disability by creating choice, opportunities and skills for life.

We live by the motto “Big enough to provide the service, small enough to look after you.”

our values

our culture

OUR MISSION Supporting a life of choice.

• We are committed to authenticity. • We believe in lifelong learning. • We are compassionate. • We are empowering.

• We dare to dream and do things differently. • We understand rural and regional communities. • We employ a person centred approach. • We believe in establishing authentic connections for people we support.

• We are respectful. • We are innovative.

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We are delighted to present this summary of our activities for the 2017-2018 financial year, in which we have continued to grow and evolve, overcame many challenges and achieved some extraordinary results. It was a year of significant change, evolution and alignment to position ourselves in good standing for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the organisation. It is unbelievable to think that we started with a grant of just $15,333 twenty-five years ago to successfully transition to the NDIS with a total revenue of almost five million dollars today. As a fledging organisation driven by parents, we started our journey supporting 10 clients for 10 hours per week delivering community access in Beaudesert. Today, we support over 100 clients in mostly accommodation support across South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. We still believe bigger isn’t better and we pride ourselves on delivering client focused and directed quality services over quantity of services.

This was a transition year for both the sector and Rural Lifestyle Options Australia. We are passionate about making a difference in rural and regional communities and this has driven our growth. We sought to make our services available to an increased number of participants through expanding our footprint interstate. We created a sustainable base built to benefit all participants, and a platform for growth with better outcomes and individual choices. The NDIS has represented the most significant reform Rural Lifestyle Options Australia has ever seen in our twenty-five years of operation and is the largest reform in Australia since the introduction of Medicare. It has forced service providers to be lean by reducing overheads which we are proud to say equate to just over seven percent. In 2017, we choose to discontinue delivering group based supports as we believe these supports take away people’s choice and control. Group based activities have proven to be inflexible in this new environment as it is almost impossible to match small groups of people wanting to work on the same goals at the same time.

To assist the organisation with our transition, we implemented an empowered, flat structure approach which encourages all team members to take active control and responsibility for their activities. This allowed freedom for all team members to contribute, develop and deliver ideas no matter their position within the organisation. This has resulted in lots of wonderful ideas and services being delivered. This financial year, we were proud to implement our endorsed Reconciliation Action Plan which demonstrates our commitment towards an inclusive community for all. At the end of June 2018, 70% of our services were operating under the NDIS and it is predicted by November 2018 all services will be. We wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone across the organisation for their tireless contribution. Most of all, we wish to thank our participants, a small number of whom have been gracious enough to share their stories in these pages. We are privileged to support them and bear witness to their resilience and success.

We would also like to thank our Board of Directors for demonstrating great leadership and we look forward to 2019 and the opportunities this brings for us.

Carole Caswell Chairperson

Michelle Latailakepa Chief Executive Officer

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 5


Securing our future.

Total Revenue in 2017-2018 $4,695,822

our top revenue contributors

26.2% growth compared to 2016/2017 Financial Year


revenue changes over time

$5,000,0 0 $5,00 ,0 $5,0 0, $5, , $5,0 , 5, , $5,00 ,

$4,500,0 0 $4,50 ,0 $4,500, $4,5 , $4,50 , 4, 0 , $4,500,

$4,000,0 0 $4,00 ,0 $4,0 0, $4, , $4,0 , 4, , $4,00 ,

$3,500,0 0 $3,50 ,0 $3,500, $3,5 , $3,50 , 3, 0 , $3,500,


$3,000,0 0 $3,00 ,0 $3,0 0, $3, , $3,0 , 3, , $3,00 ,

$2,500,0 0 $2,50 ,0 $2,500, $2,5 , $2,50 , 2, 0 , $2,500,

$2,000,0 0 $2,00 ,0 $2,0 0, $2, , $2,0 , 2, , $2,00 ,

$1,500,0 0 $1,50 ,0 $1,500, $1,5 , $1,50 , 1, 0 , $1,500,

$1,000,0 0 $1,00 ,0 $1,0 0, $1, , $1,0 , 1, , $1,00 ,

$500,0 0 $50 ,0 $500, $5 , $50 , 50 , $500,



$ $0 0



1993 9 3 1993

19 9

2003 0 3 2003

2008 0 8 2008

2013 013 2013

2018 018 2018

1 19 3 1 9 3


1 19 9


2 20 3 2 0 3

2 20 8 2 0 8

201 2013 2 013

201 2018 2 018

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Traditional Owners


Rural Lifestyle Options Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities.

Our Social Impact Plan outlines our vision for the future direction of the organisation over the next two years.

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 7


Rural Lifestyle Options Australia has a highly skilled and qualified Board of Directors who are committed to providing governance as well as setting and safeguarding the strategic direction of the organisation.

Board of Directors (left to right)

Emeritus Professor Ken Moores AM Director Dr Deborah Wilmoth Director

Carole Caswell Chairperson Ann Armstrong Vice Chairperson


Rural Lifestyle Options Australia is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Rural Lifestyle Options Australia is a Public Benevolent Instituion (PBI) and is endorsed with a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status with the Australian Taxation Office. Rural Lifestyle Options Australia is registered as a charity with the ACNC.

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25th Anniversary Vehicle

NDIS Intake and Support Officer Racheal with our Special Edition 25th Anniversary Vehicle.

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 9


How your support has helped.

CHRISTMAS FUNCTION 2017 [PROJECT 8] Rural Lifestyle Options Australia’s eighth Unfunded Project was to host a Christmas Party for participants, families and staff. Through generous donations we were able to hire a Photo Booth, Video Jukebox, Musical Act, Balloon Twister and Face Painter. We were also able to provide dinner through catering by BeanTo. A special thanks to the Scenic Rim Regional Council for funding the venue through a $1,000 grant and the Birnam Rural Fire Brigade for volunteering their time and bringing Santa to the party on a fire truck!

IMPROVEMENTS TO SOCIAL HUB DROP IN CENTRE [PROJECT 9] Rural Lifestyle Options Australia’s ninth Unfunded Project was to improve our Social Hub Drop In Centre. Items such as a basketball hoop, volleyball equipment, gaming machine, coffee machine and frother were acquired to provide more choices for participants. Our newly opened Social Hub Drop-in Centre is a safe space where friends can meet in their local community and access a wide range of equipment including but not limited to the aforementioned.


Rural Lifestyle Options Australia’s most recent Unfunded Project is for the cost of materials and labour for a newly established wheelchair accessible accommodation house within the Scenic Rim. Through generous donations we were able to convert a building into a newly renovated, five bedroom, fully accessible residence for four lovely young people we have the privilege of supporting.

Total project cost was $4,281

Total project cost was $1,269

Total project cost is $18,320


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Rural Lifestyle Options Australia has been proudly providing supports and services to people with a disability living in rural and regional areas for 25 years.


Short-term accommodation (overnight respite) Rural Lifestyle Options Australia offer short term accommodation for participants who require supports for a limited period of time.

Rural Lifestyle Options Australia can support you with everyday tasks that enable you to live as independently as possible.



Since my daughter has been at Rural Lifestyle Options Australia she has been a lot happier. The more personalised service sets it apart from the previous provider we were with, which was a much larger organisation. We are happy that we can approach the Service Managers and know that any concerns we may have can be dealt with quickly when necessary.

Rural Lifestyle Options Australia can support you to live independently within a community of your choice.

Rural Lifestyle Options Australia can support you to connect and integrate within a community of your choice.


supports coordination

” (Pictured) Amy joined Rural Lifestyle Options Australia in 2016. Marion Amy’s Mother

Through our Plan Management service, you can be assured that we will work with you to determine the best approach to maximise the benefits of your plan.

Through our Supports Coordination NDIS Supports, we work creatively with participants to utilise their support budgets to achieve their goals.

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 11



Appointed Michelle Latailakepa as CEO. Launched our Unfunded Projects initiative as proudly published on our website. Awarded first two employees for 15 years of service milestone. Relaunched our branding and website. Became an endorsed host provider for My Life My Choice self-directed service. Became an approved QLD Mental Health provider. Formed the Participant Consultative Committee .


Commissioned ‘Roads to Independence’ report. Started the organisation after receiving our first grant of $15,333.

2001 Acquired 4 Davis Street property. 2003

Successful in receiving one-off funding to run the Consumer Participation project. 2007 Acquired 6 Davis street property. 2008 Recipients for the Minister’s Award for excellence in workforce development. 2009 ​Officially opened Jade Cottage. 2011 Acquired Anna Street property. 2014​ Established our first Facebook page.



1994 Rural Lifestyle Options Association was officially incorporated.

12 Rural Lifestyle Options Australia


Became a registered NDIS provider in New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. Commenced our transition to the NDIS. Delivered NDIS services in Queensland. Delivered NDIS services in New South Wales. Became an approved Aged Care Home Care provider nationwide. ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan was endorsed and implemented. Appointed first indepedent Directors reconstituting Board Goverance for Growth.



Proudly celebrates 25 years of service. Appoints NDIS Intake and Support Officer in New South Wales. Hosts first NAIDOC week event in Queensland. Converts a building into a newly renovated five bedroom fully accessible residence for four young people in South East Queensland. Opens a new office in Murwillumbah, Northern New South Wales.

Officially opened new office in South East Queensland. Renovated our South East Queensland property and transformed it into a fully accessible Respite Retreat for children and adults. Officially opened our first Social Enterprise ‘Preloved Homewares’ Op Shop. Became a company limited by guarantee and started trading under Rural Lifestyle Options Australia. Officially opened first Sensory Room in South East Queensland.


1993 - 2018​

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 13


100 NDIS preplanning meetings helD

Launched Supports Coordination Service

8 Supported Independent Living Arrangements

25 years We have been proudly supporting people with a disability in Rural and Regional communities for

51 NDIS planning meetings attended 15

60% increase since 2016/2017 Financial Year

hours of support delivered 75,671

NDIS plan review meetings attended

34.7% increase since 2016/2017 Financial Year

246 NDIS service agreements and quotes

282,815 km

Travelled in Rural Lifestyle Options Australia work vehicles.

(45% growth compared to 2016/2017 financial year)

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10 New Online Video Media Campaigns

3,400 Total Minutes Watched

10,000 Unique Views

37.5% Increase in mentions across Print Media (Compared to 2016/2017 Financial Year)

11,857 Total Number of Website Sessions (Across Computer and Mobile Devices)

58% increase in Facebook followers (Compared to 2016/2017 Financial Year)

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 15


In conjunction with the University of Western Australia Learning for Purpose Centre for Social Impact , all staff were invited to participate in the largest national workforce survey which addressed how to improve work, build better careers, learn and be healthy. Over 500 Not-for-profit organisations participated and the survey compared our organisation’s results to the rest of the sector.

performance management and compensation

Worker Net Promoter

human resource system strength



To learn more about Learning For Purpose visit

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4 Staff members with lived experience of disability or a lived experience of caring for a person with a disability.

100% of employees completed disability induction modules 1-7

4 Internal Promotions

57 New Jobs Created


9 staff recipients of our

Above and Beyond Award

81% of employees hold a Certificate III or higher tertiary qualification.

of employees hold a Bachelor Degree or higher tertiary qualification. 24%

of total staff participated in our Workplace Giving Program. 18%

of total staff are permanent part-time or full-time employees. 96%

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 17


Mununjali Artist, Derek Fogarty creates artwork reflective of his connection with the land, stories and community.

18 Rural Lifestyle Options Australia (Pictured) Mununjali Artist, Mr Derek Fogarty with his artwork ‘The Helping Hands of Rural Lifestyle Options Australia’ at our South East Queensland Office.


In November 2017 , Rural Lifestyle Options Australia

In May 2018 , staff recognised National Reconciliation Week with a morning tea. Participants, staff and members of the community acknowledged the significance of the event at our South East Queensland Social Hub by reflecting on our shared histories, cultures, and achievements. Attendees were treated to Crocodile and Corn Vol Au Vents, Peppermint Gum Cream Cookies or Lemon Myrtle Native Slab Cheesecake.

announced that our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan was given final endorsement by Reconciliation Australia. Since its inception, the organisation has held a number of events honouring our commitment to developing a long term sustainable foundation, across the communities in which we operate, for future engagement and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Most Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world — but this is not true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In March 2018 , we held a morning tea to recognise this inequality, as part of Oxfam’s Close The Gap campaign. For a gold coin donation, guests enjoyed a morning tea with traditional aboriginal music and Close The Gap trivia. Attendees were also invited to sign a petition which called on the Australian Government to provide adequate health services for Aboriginal people.

To read our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan, visit

Annual Report 2017 - 2018 19


Nat's Journey After 12 months of dedication, author and Rural Lifestyle Options Australia participant Nat completed writing his first book. ' Ravaged Earth' is a Science Fiction Thriller about a Scientist named Mat who finds himself on a wild adventure through the galaxy after an experiment goes haywire...

Goal #1

capturing nat’s vision

If one had asked Nat two years ago, if he ever thought he would write a book, the answer would have been “No!”. This is because up until 12 months ago, Nat couldn’t read or write. But that didn’t stop him from writing a book. At the beginning of 2017, Nat had a dream which inspired a video game idea. After discussing his idea with his Lifestyle Support Worker Helen, Nat came to the conclusion that in order to create a video game he would need to map out the storyline for it first. Hence, 'Ravaged Earth' was born. The first step involved Nat capturing his ideas on paper. Once a timeline for Nat’s book had been worked out, Helen and Nat began working on handwriting the story.

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Goal #2

Goal #3

typing the draft

The second step in Nat’s journey involved him typing his book into a Word document. With Helen's support, Nat added characters and storylines as he went.


Once the draft had been finalised, Nat took the book to Main Office for our Marketing and Communications Division to proof read and edit. In consultation with Nat, they designed a front and back cover.

Goal #4

moving forward

Now that Nat has finished his first book, it's onto the sequel! Nat is currently selling copies of ‘Ravaged Earth’ at our Main Office for $10 a book. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, contact Main Office on 1300 032 175.

We are proud to be supporting Nat to live a life of his choice. Annual Report 2017 - 2018 21


Have you ever wondered what it’s like having to live in a hospital and being unable to go home because you don’t have the supports you need to live independently, like so many other people do, and take for granted? Well until the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was rolled out this is exactly what happened to Steven, this is his story! Steven was a very active man working for the local council, he enjoyed surfing and was always commended by peers for his physical fitness. In 2008 Steven was diagnosed with Huntingtons. Until very recently he remained active in his community, however due to the progression of his condition he was hospitalized and unable to return home. Once Steven’s medical concerns were alleviated he remained unable to return home for a variety of reasons and found himself in limbo in the hospital ward with no way out and no one to turn to. The Hospital wanted to discharge Steven as he was no longer acute, however due to a lack of suitable accommodation for Steven, he was forced to remain in the hospital even after several months and numerous unsuccessful attempts from family and staff to find another place for him to live. Rural Lifestyle Options Australia was approached by Steven’s Supports Coordinator to see if the organisation could assist him in persuing his goal of once again living independently in a community of his choosing. After hearing Steven’s story, Rural Lifestyle Options Australia's Service Manager, Mr Shane Ferguson wanted to meet and work with Steven, his family and the Supports Coordinator to make his dreams come true. Steven chose the community he wanted to live in. A suitable dwelling was located, therapy assessments completed for both the dwelling and Steven, then the NDIS planner could be responsive and assess the situation with the urgency that it deserved to make his dreams come true. A team of very experienced support workers were assembled, and the Huntingtons society attended to do some specific training for the team.

Steven's Checklist

Goal #1

Locate a provider

Goal #2

Find a house

Goal #3

Find and train the right people to support me

Goal #4

Move in

We are proud to be supporting Steven to live a life of his choice.

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For the third year running, the organisation participated in Feel Good February. This year, random acts of kindness were carried out across both Queensland and New South Wales.


(Pictured) Participant Meg with staff members from the Scenic Rim Regional Council’s Live At The Centre.

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Corporate Partners, Supporters and Sponsors A-Choired Taste BeanTo Beaudesert Mitre 10 Beaudesert RSL Services Club Inc Beaudesert Specsavers Beaudesert Times Bentley’s Chartered Accountants Birnum Rural Fire Brigade Busy At Work Community Business Australia Enright Sawmills Fleet Partners Frank and Ruth Ellis Huntingtons Society Jag Fix It MS Queensland Nortec On-Q Human Resources Phil Day, Cartoonist Play For Purpose ProCare Queensland Country Credit Union Remserv Tweed Shire Council Vistaprint

Community Grants

CommBank Foundation, Centenary Grant $10,000 Beaudesert RSL Services Club, Community Sponsorship Program $2,000 Google Adwords Grant $120,000 Scenic Rim Regional Council, Community Grant Program $3002 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, NAIDOC Week Grant $1,000

Financial Grants

Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors Department of Health (Federal) Department of Health (QLD) National Disability Insurance Agency


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Rural Lifestyle Options Australia is strengthened by the goodwill of volunteers and the support of local businesses. We are grateful to the local communities in which we operate for their assistance as we continue to deliver our mission of supporting people with a disability to live a life of their choice.










MAKE A BEQUEST Annual Report 2017 - 2018 25


rural lifestyle options australia ltd annual report 2017-2018 PO Box 238, Murwillumbah NSW 2484 po box 617, beaudesert qld 4285 1300 032 175

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