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Vision Australia Annual Report 200708 - RTF Version


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									Vision Australia blindness and low vision services

Our vision Vision Australia is a living partnership between people who are blind, sighted or have low vision. We are united by our passion that in the future people who are blind or have low vision will have access to and fully participate in every part of life they choose.

Our mission Vision Australia will achieve this through creating a community partnership of knowledge, skills and expertise to enrich the participation in life of people who are blind or have low vision and their families. We will ensure that the community recognises their capabilities and contributions.

Making it accessible We are committed to producing information in a form accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. This is why our Annual Report looks different. The spiralbound format can be spread flat, assisting people using magnifiers. The text is 12 point, the minimum font size recommended. Print always appears against a clear, contrasting background. This report is also available in large print, braille and audio formats, and can be downloaded at to read using speech output software.

Front cover photo information: Rafe Manuell of Sydney captured the hearts of thousands of donors when his image appeared in our print advertising campaign.


Message from our Chair & CEO About us Enabling full participation in life Making information fully accessible & usable Enhancing the quality, quantity & reach of our services Refining & delivering quality services Establishing & growing Vision Australia in the community Building our capacity as a strong national organisation Working as a team Corporate governance Our Board Financial summary Sharing our vision

Contents page photo information: Richard Carbone of Melbourne worked with one of our Orientation & Mobility instructors to learn how to use escalators – a big step for someone who has low vision.


Message from our Chair & CEO
At Vision Australia all our actions are driven by one figure — 600,000, the number of Australians expected to be blind or have low vision by 2020. This number, which is double today‘s figure, has been a catalyst for growth. Indeed, meeting the rising demand for blindness and low vision services was the reason four organisations united to form Vision Australia in 2004. Since then, several more organisations have joined us and together we are working towards a common purpose. This report offers an overview of how we are working together to expand, refine and enhance our range of services to meet a growing demand. Everyone in our partnership is united by our Vision that in the future people who are blind or have low vision will have access to and fully participate in every part of life they choose. For examples of how we are achieving this, please read our ‗enabling full participation in life‘ section. An important focus of the past year has been our goal of making information accessible to all. By incorporating Hear A Book and ABC Commercial, as well as partnering with international libraries, we have greatly expanded the choice of titles available to Australians with a print disability. As part of our revolutionary i-access® project we are developing the digital capabilities to offer instant access to newspapers, magazines and more. So far in excess of 10,000 playback devices for reading digital audio books have been sent free of charge to clients. The pieces of the i-access® puzzle are now falling into place. To learn more about our advances in this area, read ‗making information accessible & usable‘. With our goal of delivering a wider range of services to more people, we recently joined forces with Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA). As with our foundation merger, it made sense in economic and service-provision terms, enabling us to deliver a complete Orientation & Mobility (O&M) program in a more cost-effective manner. We are now also working with Guide Dogs Tasmania to offer increased choice and independence for Tasmanians who are blind or have low vision. To learn more about these partnerships and our important advocacy work, please read the ‗expanding the quality, quantity & reach of our services‘ section. The progress we have made since joining with Royal Blind Foundation Queensland demonstrates the benefits of collaboration. In Queensland we have expanded low vision services, rolled out a client consultation network and opened a new Cairns centre.


Our ‗refining & delivering quality services‘ section explains how we are making a difference nationwide. Despite the rate of change, our internal culture is stronger than ever and the community is responding to our call for support. For more on the difference being made by staff, business and our growing team of volunteers, read the ‗establishing & growing Vision Australia in the community‘ and ‗working as a team‘ sections. In 2007/08 we began preparing for the future by selling off under-utilised properties and building new facilities in areas of greatest need. To learn how we are planning to fill in the gaps in service provision, go to the ‗building our capacity as a strong national organisation‘ section. It‘s an exciting time for Vision Australia. We are consolidating our position as the national provider of blindness and low vision services by building on current programs and rolling out initiatives born out of the strategies devised over the past four years. There is still so much to achieve, but through prudent management of our resources and continued collaboration with like-minded partners, we are confident of meeting future challenges. Kevin Murfitt, Chair Gerard Menses, Chief Executive Officer


About us
Vision Australia is a living partnership between people who are blind, sighted or have low vision. We are committed to delivering exceptional and efficient services that open up exciting possibilities for our community. Every member of our partnership is united by a passion that in the future Australians who are blind or have low vision will have access to and fully participate in every part of life they choose. Combining the resources of several leading blindness organisations, we provide a range of vital services from centres throughout New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland, the Northern Territory, Victoria and Tasmania. In addition, our Information Library Service sends out books, coursework, magazines and other publications in braille and audio formats nationally. By working in partnership with the RPH (Radio For The Print Handicapped) community radio network and taking full advantage of online technology, we can communicate with people who are blind or have low vision nationwide. With clients ranging from infants to the very elderly, we must address the challenges presented over the course of a lifetime. Our professional staff support thousands of Australians through a range of programs, including children‘s, study, employment, equipment, independent living, information access, policy and advocacy and recreation services. In order to continue to provide our vital services free of charge, we rely on community support. In fact, about two-thirds of our funding is derived from non-Government sources such as individual donors. Because everyone is different, Vision Australia‘s programs are designed around the evolving needs of the individual — be they a preschooler learning vital life skills such as how to dress themselves; a child being taught how to use a cane to navigate their way around the school yard; a young adult starting out on a career path or an elderly person with low vision who is using technology to remain informed and connected. As the nation‘s largest provider of blindness and low vision services, we are in a strong position to work closely with Government and business to break down barriers for our community, bringing issues relating to blindness or low vision, access and equity to wider public attention. We work in collaboration with Blind Citizens Australia (BCA), a national advocacy organisation for people who are blind or have low vision, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). We recently updated this MOU to ensure a stronger relationship.


Vision Australia also engages with the international blindness community in the interests of people who are blind or have low vision, both in Australia and overseas. Our General Manager International Programs, Maryanne Diamond, is the President of the World Blind Union and Vision Australia staff regularly communicate with colleagues from around the globe. We are guided by the judgment and needs of clients, staff, volunteers and supporters alike and consult and communicate with our community via surveys, focus groups and newsletters. Our extensive client consultative framework now receives input from 50 Local Client Groups who offer their feedback via regional representatives to our Client Representative Council (CRC). This past year, their advice was instrumental in the development of a Quality Living Group telelink program for clients in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT. Our Strategic Plan, which was first developed in 2005, defines where we want to be and how to get there. The plan is expressed through the following six goals:  Refine and deliver quality services  Establish and grow Vision Australia in the community  Make information fully accessible and usable  Advocate to break down barriers  Build our capacity as a strong national organisation  Enhance the quality, quantity and reach of our services


Enabling full participation in life
At Vision Australia we passionately believe that being blind or having low vision should not be a barrier to being involved in every facet of life. With specialist advice, peer support, equipment and adaptive technology, our clients can fully participate in every part of life they choose – from carrying out household tasks to playing sport. Underpinning the range of services we deliver is the belief that our clients are the experts in their own lives and that with appropriate support they are able to solve problems and reach their goals. For this reason, we developed multidisciplinary Independent Living Services teams that have a ―whole of life‖ focus. These teams provide a range of services to meet the needs presented over the course of a lifetime. Importantly, the support is delivered in a caring and responsive manner with utmost respect for the individual. This approach has proved successful, with 90.6% of respondents to our 2007 Client Survey indicating they agree or strongly agree that they are satisfied with Vision Australia services and 97.8% agreeing staff treated them with respect. Last year clients received almost 800,000 hours of Independent Living and Orientation & Mobility (O&M) services. Vision Australia Radio broadcast 70,080 hours and our Information Library Service loaned almost 800,000 items. As the majority of our clients are older people (72% are aged 65 or more) who lose their sight to age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, much of our work focuses on enabling clients to continue to enjoy favourite activities and maintain their lifestyle. Our staff visit clients in their homes to ensure the environments they live in are safe and as accessible as possible. Something as simple as placing tactile markers on a stove can assist a client to live independently. Assistive equipment plays an integral role in enabling people who are blind or have low vision to fully participate in life — and it‘s often the smallest gadgets that make the biggest difference. For instance, a liquid level sensor that beeps when a cup is full enables a person who is blind to make tea without over-pouring. In September 2007, Vision Australia opened a new Equipment Solutions outlet in our Woolloongabba centre, making it easier for people in Brisbane who are blind or have low vision to sample, seek advice on and buy devices that help manage daily activities. This was complemented by the introduction of an online catalogue. Year-on-year orders processed through our online service have increased by 65%, showing a greater awareness and use of this vital independence service.


Our new facilities in Orange in New South Wales and Cairns in Queensland also offer additional and improved daily living skills programs as well as a greater range of Equipment Solutions. Our partnership with Guide Dogs Tasmania now ensures Tasmanians who are blind or have low vision can access significantly more programs. This partnership is another example of how we are building our capacity as a strong national organisation. A key part of Equipment Solutions is researching a range of products that might be suitable for our clients and advising manufacturers on how to make their products accessible. In 2007/08 we greatly enhanced our Equipment Solutions range. One of the newest technologies is a talking bar code scanner that reads out product information from barcodes. This device enables more independence when shopping. We sold 93,749 items through Equipment Solutions last year, representing $2.9 million in sales and a growth of 27.5% on 2006/07. As Vision Australia enters a period of consolidation, we will continue to refine and deliver quality services that enable clients to live the lives they choose. In 2007/08 we did this by:  Implementing a system that brings together client, volunteer and service information into one database. Known as the Integrated Client and Volunteer Management System (ICVMS), it helps staff to assess new clients‘ needs. Offering new low vision clinics in Apollo Bay, Nhill, Wangaratta, Portland, Swan Hill and Hamilton in Victoria, and Springwood in New South Wales. In Queensland we now run low vision clinics in Cairns, Maroochydore and Brisbane and have partnered with Vision in Paradise to offer support to Gold Coast residents. Completing 17 Independent Living Services compliance audits on Government-funded community programs in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. All audits achieved a ―high‖ compliance rating. Of the seven allocated a score, we achieved 20 out of 20 in four and 18 or above in three. Running Come ‗N‘ Try Days for activities such as tandem cycling and cricket, and promoting groups for people who are blind or have low vision through our Client Update. Over 100,000 of these are sent out annually. Celebrating the contribution of those who support people with blindness or low vision to remain active. Making A Difference Awards were presented to Brent Franklin, who started a national Swish competition; Enid O‘Connor, who runs






recreation programs in Timboon, Victoria; and Jean Feeney, who established a knitting group in Wollongong, New South Wales. Since 2006, these awards have helped to establish and grow Vision Australia in the community. Photo caption information: Enfield Information Team member and client Marian Jones demonstrates a Magnitube, which does the job of a CCTV at a fraction of the cost. Vision Australia is committed to ensuring a person‘s economic means is not a barrier to accessing assistive devices. This is why we set up an Equipment Affordability Scheme, which 15 clients benefited from in the last four months of 2007/08. We also launched a Recycled Equipment Pool program in November 2007 to redistribute donated equipment. By the end of June 2008, 29 free CCTVs were issued to clients. Photo caption information: Client June Combey learned how to make furniture at a course held in our Prahran centre, Melbourne: ―People fear blindness,‖ she said, ―but when you come to Vision Australia you realise not all‘s lost.‖ Photo caption information: Reg Hinsley (below) gave tandem cycling a go at a Come ‗N‘ Try Day held in March at our Kooyong centre.

Making information fully accessible and usable
Currently only 3 to 5% of all published information is available in formats that can be read by people who are blind or have low vision. That‘s why making information fully accessible and usable is one of our Strategic Goals. Our Information Library Service does this by posting books, magazines and other publications in braille and audio formats nationwide. This service is free to all Australians with a print disability. As effective as this system is, Vision Australia knows the future is digital, so for the past three years we have worked to ensure that our clients are not left behind in the wake of the information revolution. In order for people with a print disability to equally participate in education, employment and society, they must be able to attain information as easily as their fellow Australians. When Vision Australia was formed in 2004, it was apparent that supplying information in cassette form via the post was unsustainable. It has since proved difficult to source tapes, given they are quickly becoming obsolete. From this seed came i-access®. By harnessing digital technology, it is revolutionising how our clients access the written word. At the centre of i-access® is the Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY). This format is the international standard and enables access to the latest news and


books as well as downloadable information from the internet through speech output software. A DAISY CD can contain up to 50 hours of audio (the equivalent of 30 tapes) and can be read on a computer or digital playback device, allowing users to skip to a page and add bookmarks. Up until the end of June 2008, we sent about 9,700 new digital playback devices to library members nationwide. The easy-to-use machines have been embraced by clients of all ages. Through i-access®, Australia is becoming a world leader in providing accessible information to the print disabled community. By partnering with international agencies, we now boast one of the nation‘s largest digital libraries — with around 10,000 DAISY titles. Our in-house CD ―burn-on-demand‖ facility, commissioned in September 2007, is capable of producing 2,400 discs per day. We‘re developing online capabilities that will give clients instant access to information — be it newspapers, the catalogues of international blindness libraries or a bus timetable. By enabling independence and choice over how they attain information, our community will increase its participation in work and higher learning. i-access® is making this happen. Over the year we have moved closer to our goal of making information fully accessible and usable by:  Delivering 6,455 free digital playback devices nationwide and holding 436 DAISY telephone training sessions. An increased effort is underway to provide support to members who have players. We also delivered 97 online handheld devices, taking the total distributed until 30 June 2008 to 325.  Launching i-access® Online. This service delivers audio DAISY books and almost 100 newspapers and magazines to portable handheld devices via the internet. The online service enables clients to personalise their selections and keep updated on library developments.  Working with the Australian Electoral Commission to enable people who are blind or have low vision to use technology to vote unassisted for the first time in a Federal election.  Producing 3,303 new accessible materials – exceeding our target of 2,188. Our Contract Audio Recording team in Kooyong also commenced exclusively recording in DAISY. Maintaining our accessible website. From January to July 2008, received 256,716 visits – or 1,410 a day. Vision Australia also established an online message board that enables our Client Representative Council to receive input on their work. Developing a National Contact Centre (NCC) that enables clients, their families or health professionals to obtain information via one national phone 10



number. A knowledge base has been created to ensure our customer service staff can respond in a timely manner. A Stakeholder Relationship System will be developed to enable this team to update existing records and record new information. Information Library Service New borrowers Digital playback devices delivered 2007/08 3,541 6,455 Year-on-year growth 20% 98.9%

International player Information access is a worldwide issue, which is why we engage with like-minded agencies globally. In 2008 Vision Australia became a full Board member of the DAISY Consortium, which is chartered with moving the standard forward. As Editor of the consortium‘s DAISY Online Working Group, Vision Australia‘s Manager Architecture, Innovations and Accessible Solutions, Kenny Johar wrote the standard that will govern how DAISY content is transferred online and ensure interoperability between servers worldwide. In late 2007 Kenny, who was the first person with low vision to become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer, attended the World Wide Web Consortium, which provided a valuable insight into the future of the web. In February 2008 Kenny enhanced our global reputation by addressing the Techshare India accessibility conference. Vision Australia Radio: In 2007-08 the Vision Australia Radio network kept thousands informed, with 850 volunteers producing more than 10,000 hours of local content over 12 months. This past year it partnered with Radio for the Print Handicapped (RPH) and in May commenced Vision Australia Hour, a program distributed nationally via RPH. We also enhanced the sound of the service and extended its appeal. Don‘t Hold Back, presented by Alex Turner, Emily Ryan, Morgan Jenkins and Michael Todorovic, who are mentored by Graham Rawlins, in the Geelong studios of Vision Australia Radio 99.5 FM, is an example of the new approach to programming. Vision Australia Radio is preparing to broadcast digitally in 2009 while maintaining its analogue service. Photo caption information: Bruce Scotland of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, continues to enjoy reading thanks to his digital playback device: ―Since coming to Vision Australia for help I have learned a lot about different ways of doing things. I‘ve a new lease on life and find myself with a very busy schedule.‖ Photo caption information: Our CEO, Gerard Menses demonstrates i-access® technology to Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children‘s Services.


Enhancing the quality, quantity & reach of our services
Walking through a busy shopping centre or boarding a bus while blindfolded is a challenge many sighted Australians would not take on. Yet for thousands of Vision Australia clients, being able to carry out these everyday activities represents the first steps on their journey of independence. Mastering the techniques that enable people who are blind or have low vision to move about at home and beyond often involves many years of Orientation & Mobility (O&M) training by qualified instructors who work in conjunction with other Vision Australia professionals. And because O&M skills are vital to full participation in the community, we strive to ensure excellence in this field. Two years ago, extensive consultation with our clients revealed an increased demand for high-quality O&M services. Responding to this feedback, in September 2006 our Board approved an initiative to provide the first cane and cane tip to our clients free of charge. From October of 2006 until the end of June 2008, 567 canes and cane tips were given to people who are blind or have low vision at no charge. Last year a further 677 were distributed. Our O&M instructors guide people in the use of the long cane, which gives the user information about the surface they are about to walk over. They also teach people to use any remaining sight and their other senses to detect landmarks and reference points. In February 2008 we launched a new course run out of our Enfield centre in Sydney. The 32-week Graduate Certificate in O&M course has a substantial practical component, with students learning orientation and mobility skills while blindfolded or under low vision simulation. After studying topics such as vision systems, human development and working with clients with additional disabilities, students spend 10 weeks completing placements with Vision Australia O&M Instructors. Our first course trained six new O&M instructors who will be deployed to Vision Australia centres throughout New South Wales. As part of our commitment to enhance the quality, quantity and reach of our services, Vision Australia recently merged with Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA), the only national provider of dog guides. Following the 2008 merger, Vision Australia combined its existing services with those of SEDA to create a Seeing Eye Dogs and Mobility department. Operating from Melbourne‘s Kensington, it will provide training and support to clients across Australia. By partnering with agencies like SEDA and Guide Dogs Tasmania that share our philosophy of equal access and full participation in life we are able to source new


ideas, offer exciting possibilities and provide the training that enables our clients to move through life with greater independence. Advocating to break down barriers As a national voice we are committed to eliminating obstacles to full participation in society for our community. Over the past year our Policy & Advocacy team has worked with banks to improve access to audio- enabled ATMs; airlines to enhance assistance to passengers who are blind; supermarkets to ensure better accessibility in their premises, and public transport providers to improve access to timetable information as well as train, bus and tram announcements. To identify and address issues Vision Australia collaborates with clients, consumer bodies, Government, business and the community. During 2007/08, we held client forums in metropolitan and regional areas to identify issues of concern. These included access to consumer information, children‘s education and tertiary study, public transport and pedestrian safety, employment, domestic equipment and shopping. Over the past year we made 40 submissions to Government (double the amount made in 2006/07) on issues such as access to broadband, electronic voting in elections and disability employment services. We have also developed public policy statements on driving with impaired vision; access to equipment and taxis; mobility parking permits and the impact quiet vehicles, street furniture and items on footpaths have on our community‘s mobility and safety. Our Policy and Advocacy team address both systemic and individual advocacy and work with our client consultative framework. One team member, Policy & Advocacy Officer Maurice Gleeson, was nominated for the 2008 Disability Professional of the Year by Disability Professionals Victoria. This award highlights excellence and leadership in the disability sector by recognising outstanding individuals who have displayed ―the essence of what it takes to be a disability professional‖. Photo caption information: Earlier in 2008 Mark Walters, Team Manager at our Newcastle centre, put an enhanced global positioning system (GPS) through its paces for a Sydney Morning Herald article on accessibility. The adaptive technology specialist, who has been blind since birth, is one of only dozens of Australians using a device that functions like an in-car GPS. Instead of having a screen, Mark‘s custom-built assistant has a braille display and speech output. ―It can help fill in the gaps. Your dog or long cane is responsible for assisting with your mobility… but having the GPS gives additional information.‖


Photo caption information: Vision Australia client Penny Stevenson received her Seeing Eye Dog Australia-trained companion, Winter, in November 2007. Winter accompanies Penny everywhere, even flying to New Zealand where Penny is completing postgraduate Rehabilitation Studies: ―I was really impressed by SEDA, mainly because they were very flexible. Winter is doing well considering that change in routine is a big thing for a young dog.‖


Refining & delivering quality services
Most children absorb information through observation. But when a child has little or no vision, a different approach to learning is needed. From the earliest stages, Vision Australia works closely with children who are blind or have low vision and their families to develop the sensory awareness and confidence that will enable them to reach their full potential. With our support and training, parents are better equipped to teach their child how to master daily living tasks such as eating and dressing. We also introduce preschoolers to the magic of books through our Feelix Library. In the past year this service was boosted by 148 new tactile story kits, enabling members access to a greater variety of stories. When a child reaches school, our team of professionals work with educators to smooth their path in the classroom and facilitate integration and socialisation. During high school, our staff prepare teenagers to transit into a career. They do this by working with teachers to ensure each child has the support and equipment that enables them to learn alongside their sighted peers. Accessing information is the key to attaining important tertiary qualifications. This is why Vision Australia awards annual Further Education Bursaries that enable students who are blind or have low vision to obtain vital adaptive technology free of charge. These grants are made possible through the generosity of our donors. In 2008, 25 bursaries were presented — eight more than the previous year. For the first time Northern Territorians were among the recipients. Although adaptive technology is breaking down barriers, finding and keeping a job is still a challenge for many of our clients. In fact, our 2007 Employment Report revealed that 63 per cent of people who are blind or have low vision and want to work are unemployed. To address this, Vision Australia supports job-seekers to gain and maintain sustainable employment. In March 2008, Vision Australia Employment Services was certified against the Disability Services Standards quality assurance system. The certification audit involved teams across the organisation, with our Wollongong team being particularly commended for their exceptional quality of service. This certification has enhanced our ability to work with employers and other agencies to ensure people who are blind or have low vision receive the support and equipment needed to succeed in their chosen careers. Other ways we refined and delivered quality children‘s support, training and employment services included:  Redeveloping the sensory playroom at our Enfield centre. The refit by Laing O‘Rourke volunteers provided young clients with a modern environment to help them develop life skills. The centre also hosted nine activity and computer skills days for children in Sydney. 15


Partnering with Guide Dogs Tasmania to deliver vital children‘s services to young Tasmanians who are blind or have low vision and their families, as well as equipment, technology training and job-seeking support for their older peers. Working with the NSW Office of the Board of Studies to develop an accessible online exam that enabled School Certificate students who are blind or have low vision to sit the Computing Skills test. Establishing the Step-Up Program in conjunction with the Northern Territory Education Resource Centre for the Vision Impaired. This new program offers students training in the use of adaptive technology. We worked with 23 students in Darwin and visited schools in Tennant Creek, Murray Downs, Alice Springs and Gove. Enhancing adaptive technology training, with new courses offered in Ballarat, Bendigo and Warrnambool. Running the Access to Work and Training pilot program, a partnership between TAFE NSW, Illawarra Institute and Vision Australia Wollongong. Participants completed a 10-week course covering communication, adaptive technology and interviews and took part in a work placement. Supporting 400 existing clients through our Employment Services and bringing 273 new clients to the service. About 40% (or 160) entered the program to maintain current employment. We also assisted 85 clients to obtain employment. Providing access to the Australian Government‘s Workplace Modifications Scheme for 192 clients, enabling them to obtain or maintain employment in the wider business community. Vision Australia is the largest national user of this scheme, securing $845,000 in funding to deliver these outcomes.



 



2007/08 Year-on-year growth New Employment Services clients registered Clients placed in work (min. 8 hours a week) Further Education Bursaries awarded

273 85 25

10% 31% 47%

Photo caption information: Four-year-old Sydney client Natalija Lambert, who is enjoying a brailled storybook with her mum Meri-Jade, is learning basic literacy skills with the help of our Feelix Library. Natalija was the face of our 2008 Tax Appeal, which raised more than $1.2million. Photo caption information: This year Peggy Soo was among nine Victorians to receive Vision Australia Further Education Bursaries. In May, the Governor General 16

Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC presented the RMIT Disability Science student with her bursary at a ceremony in our Kooyong centre. Photo caption information: In January, Adrian Smith gained one of two new furniture-making apprenticeships offered at Vision Australia Enterprises in Prahran, Melbourne. Adrian, who has worked with us for 10 years, now constructs products such as baby gates and toy boxes for BabyCo and Target. Machinery guards and special jigs enable him to work safely. Vision Australia Enterprises in Prahran recently took over the production of audio books for Hear A Book, giving staff the opportunity to gain new skills. Enterprises staff in Brisbane also make a wide variety of products, including brooms and nets that protect swimmers from sharks and crocodiles.


Establishing & growing Vision Australia in the community
Vision Australia‘s ability to make a difference to the lives of people who are blind or have low vision relies on strong partnerships between clients, staff, volunteers, Government, businesspeople and other members of the community. Working together, we can achieve much more. Although we receive strong support from State and Federal Governments, the greater part of our work is made possible through the generosity of supporters who share our Vision of creating a future where people who are blind or have low vision can access and participate in every part of life they choose. During this past year, thousands of Australians contributed $5,040,609 towards our services by responding to our appeals, making pledge donations, buying products or lottery tickets and giving to specific services and events. We also appreciate the time and resources local groups, committees and auxiliaries invest in raising funds for us and helping to establish and grow Vision Australia in the community. In 2008 one of our strongest supporters, the Maitland Black & White Committee, celebrated 40 years of fundraising for Vision Australia. In 2007/08 their popular fundraising events, such as the annual ball and Garden Ramble, brought $65,000 to our organisation. Our living partnership is also grateful to the many trusts and foundations whose support ensures we can continue our vital work. The late Keith and Mary Trevan connected with our Vision so passionately they established the Kemvan Trust to support us in perpetuity. Managed by ANZ Trustees, we appreciate the $1.1 million gift we received from the trust in the past year. We recognise the contribution of the business and legal communities who provide financial and in-kind support and promote our Vision. We worked with Nokia Australia on an accessible phone guide and ANZ on making product disclosure information accessible. Our Information Support Group (ISG) has also strengthened our relationship with Microsoft Australia by advising on accessibility issues and working with them to procure, test and deploy software solutions and limit our application ownership costs. News Limited and Fairfax Media Limited continue to supply us with daily editions that can be downloaded and read with handheld online devices. We are also grateful for the support of PRIME Television who in 2007/08 produced and broadcast six Vision Australia community service announcements free-of-charge across their network. We also enjoy a strong relationship with The Australian, which kindly donated two full-page advertisements in 2007/08.


A Christmas Eve to remember Vision Australia‘s Carols by Candlelight® celebrated 70 fabulous years in December 2007. Top artists such as Marina Prior and Hi-5 performed to a capacity crowd at Melbourne‘s Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Thousands more flocked to Federation Square where the event was broadcast on the big screen and 5,500 attended Rehearsal Night on 23 December. The night was a huge success thanks to the support of our many partners. Myer‘s role as a Vision Australia partner strengthened significantly. In addition to coming on board as a presenting partner, the Myer Community Fund surprised everyone at Vision Australia with a $150,000 cheque presented at the event on Christmas Eve. The 2007 Myer Gift Wrap project raised $100,321 for Vision Australia, an increase of $33,000. Volunteers wrapped gifts in return for donations at 31 Myer stores in New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria. Our valued broadcast partners, the Nine Network, once again televised the big night across the nation. The Southern Cross radio network also broadcast the event along the eastern seaboard. The Herald Sun helped spread the word throughout Victoria, distributing 120,000 copies of the souvenir program with their paper. In addition, hundreds of banners, posters and flags promoting the event were displayed across the city with the assistance of Melbourne City Council, Federation Square, JC Decaux, the Connex network and Yarra Trams. Supporters such as Ventura Buses, Crown, Fox and Entertainment Store ensured more event goods and services were supplied at no cost, with total in-kind support of $388,112. 2006/07 39% 55% 18.5% 1043 2007/08 85% 75% 18.2% 1159

Staff agree their overall needs are met Staff feel valued and respected Total FTE with blindness or low vision Total service delivery and support staff

A thoughtful gift With its winding stone paths, lush foliage, tranquil pond and majestic trees teeming with native birds, Bettie and Eric‘s garden is a slice of heaven in suburban Sydney. Representing decades of loving attention from Bettie, this award-winning environment will continue to provide refuge for people and wildlife alike for many years. The couple‘s beautiful garden will not be their only legacy. Eric and Bettie are among the hundreds of generous Australians who are planning to leave a gift in their will to ensure Vision Australia can continue to provide its free services.


Last financial year Vision Australia received more than $18 million in bequests. This unprecedented figure demonstrates the depth of feeling and support that exists within the community. ―We have been donating for many years and felt the people at Vision Australia were genuine,‖ said Bettie. ―We wanted to do something with our money that would help people for years to come.‖ Thank you Bettie and Eric and to the many Australians like you who remember us in their wills.

Photo caption information: In October 2007 young Melbourne client Danijela Zebic made a big impression on Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, the host of our Have Cane, Am Able launch. The project raises funds for training in the use of a cane. Photo caption information: Geelong client Kate Law was thrilled to meet the event‘s ambassador, Anthony Callea. Photo caption information: The Honourable Justice Roslyn Atkinson, Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, spoke on the value of diversity at our 2007 Annual General Meeting, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Use of this facility was kindly donated by the centre. Earlier in the year, Justice Atkinson accepted a Making A Difference Award recognising the Courts‘ support of Vision Australia client Louisa Young, who is her associate.


Building our capacity as a strong national organisation
As a living partnership our organisation is built on people, not bricks and mortar. Nevertheless, the buildings that have served our community have played an important role in our story. Vision Australia is the result of several leading organisations that realised the best way to meet the growing demand for their services was to combine resources. This bold move has already reaped rewards. We are now active throughout Australia, offering a wider choice of services and greater independence for people who are blind or have low vision. A 2006 review revealed that while the vast majority of our clients were satisfied, Vision Australia was not necessarily delivering programs from the most accessible locations. This feedback, alongside the need to financially prepare for a future when our services will be in greater demand, resulted in an extensive reassessment of our property assets. Conducted throughout 2006/07, our Property Review determined that while Vision Australia was blessed with many excellent properties, some were no longer in locations of high need or required significant repair. Thus, with the goal of enhancing the quality, quantity and reach of our services in mind, we have implemented a far-reaching property initiative. Given that three of our founding agencies were based in Melbourne, there was considerable overlap of resources in this city. As such, we made the difficult decision to sell our St Kilda Road property, which has been at the heart of blindness and low vision service provision in Victoria since 1868. Our Prahran service centre site and the Burwood property that is home to Vision Australia‘s Education Centre were also sold, fetching fair market prices. The onus is now on Vision Australia to manage this legacy prudently for future generations. We are reinvesting the proceeds from these sales in order to establish service centres in areas of high demand. We are also varying our investment portfolio to bring a greater certainty of income. In Melbourne‘s inner-west, we have purchased a site adjoining the SEDA Headquarters in Kensington with the view to develop this for enhanced O&M service delivery. This followed the acquisition of sites in high-need metropolitan areas — Frankston and Dandenong in Melbourne and Hornsby and Caringbah in Sydney. In Queensland, our Brisbane team is also preparing to end a long association with our Woolloongabba site, which has served the blindness and low vision community since 1883. Plans are well underway to construct a modern facility in Coorparoo that is central to transport and large enough to cope with the growing demand for services in southeastern Queensland.


As with all Vision Australia facilities opened since 2004, our new centres will be conveniently located, accessible and able to support equipment sales and technology training areas. At the heart of all this activity has been the best interests of Australians who are blind or have low vision. Clients, staff and volunteers have been most understanding of our need to be flexible with our buildings and their locations so we can better respond to the needs of our community and ensure the best possible long-term outcomes. While the success of our Property Strategy has put us in a better position to meet our strategic goals, we remain mindful of the need to provide strong financial stewardship of the resources entrusted to us by supporters. The generosity of supporters past and present, coupled with the cooperation of all members of our partnership throughout this time of significant change, has enabled us to offer a wider range of services to more Australians who are blind or have low vision.

Photo caption information: Although he is blind, little Cooper Hallcroft is steadily learning about the world around him thanks to the support of Vision Australia‘s Wagga Wagga staff and his loving parents Aaron and Rebecca. Photo caption information: Vision Australia Enterprises staff Mark Pelgrave and Alan Nemith in our Brisbane centre. Staff at the Woolloongabba site, which has provided blindness and low vision services for 125 years, are looking forward to moving into a modern purpose-built facility.

Looking to the future As a growing national organisation Vision Australia recognises the need to act, invest and grow in a responsible and sustainable manner in order to benefit our stakeholders, the nation and future generations. We feel this also sets a strong example for other organisations. Our affirmative action policy demonstrates a commitment to advocating the employment of people who are blind or have low vision and contributes to the reduction of the unacceptable statistic that 63% of people who are blind or have low vision who want to work are without jobs. The policy aims to ensure Vision Australia remains a model workplace for people who are blind or have low vision. Leading by example enables us to influence employers‘ attitudes, showcasing the diverse range of roles at all levels of our organisation. Currently, one in six of our staff members is blind or has low vision.


A greater engagement with corporate volunteers allows us to showcase our positive and inclusive culture that proves any barrier can be overcome. Through strengthening relationships with Government at all levels we are also increasing our ability to advocate on behalf of the blindness and low vision community. Our staff wishes to actively reduce their carbon footprint and Vision Australia is committed to collectively meeting this challenge. While our geographic coverage necessitates air travel, during the past year we have made a concerted effort to reduce this by introducing video conferencing in our three main capital city offices. We have also installed several water tanks at our Enfield and Burwood centres and supported Earth Hour. Our national library continues to grow its digital capabilities, reducing our reliance on postal delivery and packaging through the introduction of an innovative online service. This technology enables library users to download books onto digital playback devices, eliminating the need for plastic packaging and CDs. Vision Australia has also set out to develop new service centres in areas that can be easily accessed by public transport and designed and constructed with sustainability and financial responsibility in mind using best-practice green techniques. We follow an ethical investment strategy and while our sights are firmly set on meeting the challenges of the future, Vision Australia respects the organisation‘s considerable history through the active preservation and display of items of heritage value throughout our centres.


Our reach across Australia Existing centres: Victoria: Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Melbourne (Burwood, Essendon, Kooyong, Mildura, Seaford, St Kilda Road and Prahran), Shepparton, Swan Hill, Traralgon, Warragul and Warrnambool NSW and ACT: Albury, Canberra, Coffs Harbour, Sydney (Enfield), Gosford, Lismore, Newcastle, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong Queensland: Brisbane, Maroochydore and Southport/Gold Coast

New partnership centres: Darwin, Launceston and Hobart (in partnership with Guide Dogs Tasmania) Updated centres 2007/08: Cairns, Orange and Boronia (Melbourne). Centres in development: Coorparoo (Brisbane), Perth, Dandenong and Frankston, Caringbah and Hornsby (Sydney).

Photo caption information: Manager Service Partnerships Chris Edwards shows Tasmanian Deputy Premier Lara Giddings a handheld online device at our Hobart launch. Client Jacob Law is one of more than 10,000 Australians to have received a digital playback device from our Information Library Service. Manager External Communications Vanessa Clayton at the launch of our Darwin centre. Client Cecily Barker at the opening of our new Brisbane Equipment Solutions outlet.


Working as a team
Visitors to our centres often comment on the friendly environment created by our staff and volunteers. A culture founded on shared goals and values is our greatest asset. Its strength was evident in our 2008 Staff Survey in which 85% indicated that Vision Australia met their overall needs, in contrast to the 39% recorded in 2006. In 2007/08 our management made a concerted effort to listen to staff in order to improve our culture. Using the ―World Café‖ process, staff feedback sessions were held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Issues included the need to enhance interdepartmental communication and professional development. This past year staff received training in the use of an Integrated Client and Volunteer Management System. Queensland employees also learned to incorporate Vision Australia Policies, Operational Guidelines and Work Practices. To safeguard the wellbeing of everyone at Vision Australia, we are developing a new Occupational Health and Safety strategy. Aligned with Australian Standard requirements, it will raise OH&S awareness and ensure a faster response to issues. We are also working towards measuring our progress against our Vision using Heartbeat Measures. When combined, these key signs from each area of operation indicate an organisational pulse that will help to build our capacity as a strong national organisation. Our valued volunteers The people who donate their time to enable us to continue our work are vital to Vision Australia. We now have 4,500 registered volunteers and peers, of whom more than 2,500 are active each month. Over the past year we also welcomed 895 new volunteers. Our volunteers‘ contribution in 2007/08 represents 250,000 hours a year or the equivalent of 6,600 weeks of work. That‘s an average of 94 hours donated to the organisation per volunteer over the year. Volunteers contribute to every aspect of our organisation, producing programs for Vision Australia Radio, assisting with administration duties, supporting recreation activities and driving clients to and from our centres. To ensure their experience is as fulfilling as possible, we have created a National Volunteer Program, which aims to offer the wealth of talented people in our community a place to share their skills, time and knowledge. Photo caption information: Chris Cussen, a volunteer presenter with Vision Australia Radio in Warrnambool, and her husband Roger were among the 130 volunteers who helped out at Vision Australia‘s Carols by Candlelight®. Chris joined us in 2003 and now reads the news, trains volunteers and sits on the station‘s development committee. Photo caption information:


Rochelle Hutson, an Occupational Therapist at our Enfield centre, was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship and will use it to study early literacy techniques for children who are blind overseas. She is following in the footsteps of colleagues who exchanged knowledge with peers at the 2008 California State University conference on technology and people with disabilities and at Vision 2008 in Montreal. Our Executive Gerard Menses BA (Hons), MA, MAICD, FAIM Chief Executive Officer Before joining Vision Australia in 2004, Gerard was CEO of the Endeavour Foundation and AnglicareSA, and was named AIM (QLD) Professional Manager of the Year 2001. He has served on business and Government advisory bodies, and is currently on the Boards of the Centre for Eye Research Australia and Vision 2020. Glenda Alexander BSocWk, Grad Dip Comm, Grad Dip Man, Cert IV Training and Assessment General Manager Independent Living Services Prior to joining Vision Australia in 2008, Glenda worked in senior management roles in Government and the not-for-profit sector, spent several years presiding on tribunal panels, and served as Chair of Queensland‘s Child Care Forum, which provided strategic advice to the Minister for Communities. Glenda has many years of experience working in the disability sector. Paul Bunker MPP, BA Librarianship Chief Information Officer Before coming to Vision Australia in 2005, Paul was Chief Information Officer for the City of Melbourne, Manager for Information Technology (IT) Service Delivery at the Department of Education and the IT Strategic Advisor for the 2005 Deaf Olympics. Maryanne Diamond BSc, Grad Dip IT General Manager International Programs Maryanne, who was born blind, worked in the information technology industry before moving into the community sector in the late 1990s. She was a founding Board member of Vision Australia, joining after five years‘ service on the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind Board. Maryanne was also Executive Officer of Blind Citizens Australia, CEO of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and is now President of the World Blind Union. In 2007, she became our Manager International Development and joined our Executive team in 2008. Trish Egan BBus, MFIA General Manager Marketing & Fundraising Trish held senior marketing positions with Unilever, Kimberley Clark Australia and SmithKline Beecham before joining Vision Australia in 2005. She has worked both locally and internationally and represents us on the DAISY Consortium and AMD Alliance International boards. Leigh Garwood MA (Comm) AIMM, MFIA General Manager Seeing Eye Dogs & Mobility


Leigh has run several not-for-profits, including the Gawler Foundation and Arthritis Foundation of Victoria. He also has considerable marketing and advertising experience, having been publisher and general manager of a newspaper group. As SEDA CEO from 2005, Leigh reinvigorated the organisation‘s financial status. He commenced his new role with us after the 2008 merger with SEDA. Jennifer Gibbons OAM, MBus General Manager Organisational Development Since joining us in 1979, Jennifer has held a number of positions, including State Manager and acting Chief Executive Officer of Vision Australia Foundation. She was Executive Officer for the National Centre for Ageing and Sensory Loss and received a Churchill Fellowship in 1982. Greg Hempenstall FCPA, FCIS, FAICD – Chief Financial Officer Before coming to Vision Australia in 2005, Greg was General Manager and Company Secretary at the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria and Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of World Vision Australia. Julie Rae AALIA, BA Librarianship, Grad Cert Bus. Admin General Manager Community Information Access Julie joined Vision Australia early in 2008 and prior to this worked in senior Local Government roles, including as CEO of a Regional Library Corporation in western Victoria. Julie also has extensive business development experience and is Project Leader of the Global Library Establishment Project. Michael Simpson Ass. Dip WW, Grad Dip Social Admin General Manager Policy & Advocacy Michael has worked in the blindness sector for over 30 years, serving as National President of Blind Citizens Australia and Direct Marketing Manager and Director Client Services with Vision Australia, which he joined in 1975. He was also part of a delegation to the UN during the development of the Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability, participated on State disability advisory bodies and was Deputy Chair of the Federal disability-related Ministerial Advisory Council. David Speyer ACA (UK) General Manager Planning & Business Development David is a Chartered Accountant who joined Vision Australia in 2006 as a special projects consultant, overseeing the Royal Blind Foundation Queensland amalgamation. He came to Vision Australia after a career in industry working with multinationals around the world, including 11 years in Asia managing operations and finances in various roles.


Corporate governance
The Board of Vision Australia is responsible for the corporate governance of the consolidated entity. It guides and monitors the business and affairs on behalf of the members, to whom they are accountable. Composition of the Board The Board consists of up to 12 persons who are all Non-Executive Directors. The Board comprises directors with an appropriate range of qualifications and knowledge of finance, business, law, marketing, information technology, property, sensory loss, disability and consumer issues. Directors act in a voluntary capacity, except for the Chair, who is remunerated. In limited cases, Directors or their firms may act in a professional capacity for Vision Australia. In such cases the nature of the work and the remuneration are subject to approval by the Board. Board Responsibilities The Board acts on behalf of and is accountable to the Members. It identifies the expectations of members and monitors changes in Government policy and community expectations. The Corporations Act 2001 and Vision Australia‘s Constitution govern the regulation of meetings and proceedings of the Board. The Board‘s role and its relationship with management is governed by a Board-agreed Charter. The responsibility for operation and administration is delegated by the Board to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Board, CEO and Management Team set the corporate strategic direction. The Board meets regularly and monitors the achievement of agreed targets and financial objectives against budget. Board Committees To maximise its efficiency and effectiveness, the Board has formed a number of subcommittees that consider specific areas of Vision Australia‘s activities and report back to the Board. Each Committee operates under its own Board approved Charter. The Chair of the Board is an ex officio member of each Committee. Audit, Finance and Business Risk Committee The primary roles of the Committee are to provide strategic advice to management and to monitor and review, on behalf of the Board, the effectiveness of the control environment in Vision Australia in the areas of operational and balance sheet risk, legal/regulatory compliance and financial reporting. The overriding objective of the Committee is to provide an independent and objective review of financial and other information prepared by management, in particular that to be provided to members and/or filed with regulators. The Committee also reviews the adequacy and scope of the audit plans of the external and internal auditors. Members of the Committee are Paul Gleeson (Chair), Timothy Griffiths, Tony Hanmer, Ross McColl, Derek Shaw and Roger Zimmerman. Tim Griffiths retains his membership of the Committee in a co-opted capacity subsequent to his resignation


from the Board. Derek Shaw joined the Committee in July 2008 in a co-opted capacity under the terms of the merger agreement with Seeing Eye Dogs Australia. Mr Zimmerman is a co-opted member of the Committee. Human Resources Committee The primary role of this Committee is to provide an efficient mechanism for reviewing, assessing and recommending to the Board remuneration policies and procedures whilst overseeing the general remuneration strategy of the company. Members of the Committee are Keith Barton (Chair), Ron McCallum and Theresa Smith-Ruig. Client Services Committee The primary role of the Committee is to monitor, review and recommend to the Board policies and practices of client service that are consistent with community expectations and the Mission of Vision Australia. The Committee is also responsible for the audit, monitoring and reviewing of the services delivered. Members of the Committee are Owen van der Wall (Chair) and Jan Lovie-Kitchin. Renae Johnston served on the Committee during the period until her resignation from the Board. Geoff Morris will be co-opted onto the Committee under the terms of the merger agreement with Seeing Eye Dogs Australia. Board Development Committee The role of the Board Development Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling its corporate governance responsibilities by ensuring that the Board has an appropriate mix of skills and experience. Members of the Committee are Kevin Murfitt (Chair), Owen van der Wall and Ron McCallum. Property Committee The primary role of this committee is overseeing the assessment of the company‘s property holdings. Members of the Committee are Nick Carter (Chair), Keith Barton, Paul Gleeson and Ross McColl. Paul Gleeson served as Chair of this Committee until February 2008. Tim Griffiths, Owen van der Wall and Roger Zimmerman, in a co-opted capacity, served on this Committee in 2007/08. Service monitoring and customer outcomes The Client Representative Council is elected by clients of Vision Australia to independently represent the needs and views of the clients. This body is the peak internal consumer body and it will interact with, but remain separate from the Board. It operates under a Charter that has been approved by the Board. The Board shall receive and consider any recommendation and advice given by the Body but shall not be bound by any such recommendations or advice. The Body, in consultation with the Chair of the Board, will annually nominate two Board members to join the Body and represent its views to the Board. The current Board representative is Kevin Murfitt. Renae Johnston also represented the Board during the period until her resignation. Her replacement is yet to be determined.


Directors’ meetings During the financial year there were 8 board meetings, 7 Audit Finance and Business Risk Committee meetings, 5 Property Committee meetings, 2 Human Resources Committee meetings, 5 Client Service Committee meetings, and 2 Board Development Committee meetings. Our Financial Report contains more information on our corporate governance and an attendance list of meetings held throughout the year.

Photo caption information: Client Jean McNamara, who is deafblind, regularly attends the Activities and Recreation Group at Vision Australia‘s Kooyong centre. Members meet weekly to enjoy craftwork and outings. One of the cushions Jean knitted at Vision Australia won third prize at the 2008 Royal Melbourne Show.


Our Board
Dr Kevin Murfitt BA (Hons) PhD, Chair Kevin was conferred his Doctor of Philosophy from Deakin University in 2006 after researching employers‘ attitudes towards people with a disability. He now lectures at Deakin, where he was previously a Disability Liaison Officer, and also coordinates the Willing and Able Mentoring Program. Kevin was Vice President of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind and received a 2002 HREOC Human Rights Award for contributing to the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) Accessible Public Transport Standards. Professor Ron McCallum AO, Deputy Chair, BJuris LLB, Hons, Monash; LLM Qu A former Dean of Law at Sydney University, Ron was the first person who is blind to be appointed to a full professorship at an Australian university. He is Chair of 2RPH and served on the former Royal Blind Society Board. Ron taught labour law in the United States and has written widely on industrial law. He has also worked on industrial relations taskforces for several State Governments. Owen van der Wall, Deputy Chair Owen worked for Westpac Banking Corporation for 37 years, both in Australia and overseas. He was Group Executive for Retail Banking and Investment and International Banking and Director of Public Affairs. Owen is a former President of the Australian Foreign Exchange Association, a committee member of Cambiste Internationale and Director of Mastercard International as well as a member of the Girl Guides (NSW) Finance Management Committee. He joined the Royal Blind Society Board in 2001 and Vision Australia‘s Board in 2004. Lyn Allison BEd, MAICD Former teacher Lyn was elected to the Senate in 1996 and served as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Democrats from 2004 to 2008. She held the Health and Disabilities portfolios along with Education, Energy, Treasury, Infrastructure and Commonwealth/State relations and initiated a Senate inquiry into education services for people with disabilities in 2002. Lyn has been an advocate of better job opportunities for people with low vision, greater macular degeneration awareness and the eradication of trachoma in Indigenous communities. Ronald (Keith) Barton BSc, PhD, FTSE Keith graduated with degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of New South Wales. He retired from full-time employment in 1999 after a career in manufacturing in Australia and the USA working for companies such as BHP, CSR and James Hardie. He is a Non-Executive Director of Amcor Ltd and Air Liquide (Australasia) Ltd. Nick Carter FRICS, FAPI, FAICD Nick has been active in blindness and low vision organisations since 1992. While living in Asia he was invited to join the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped Board. In Brisbane he was recruited to the Board of Vision Queensland. After its 2001 merger with Royal Blind Foundation Queensland he continued as a Director and became Chair in 2004. Nick initiated closer dialogue with


Vision Australia, leading to the 2006 amalgamation. He heads his own commercial and industrial property company, Hillier Carter Properties. Dr Donald Fraser BSc (Hons), Dip. Ed., MBA, DBA, FACS, FAICD Donald has been involved in information technology for over 30 years, teaching at CIT (now Monash) and working for US technology companies. He has leadership roles in an Australian multinational technology company and is on the Australian Computer Society Immigration Assessment Panel. His 13 years‘ experience on corporate and not-for-profit Boards has been enhanced by Australian Institute of Company Directors membership and doctoral studies. He joined SEDA‘s Board in 2007 and our Board in 2008. Paul Gleeson BSc, LLB, LLM Paul is a solicitor practising in intellectual property, corporate and commercial law. With a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Laws, he is a Principal and Managing Director of law firm Russell Kennedy and Chairman of the Intellectual Property and Information Technology Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria. Paul joined the Vision Australia Foundation Board in 1999 and Vision Australia‘s Board in 2004. He also serves on several not-for-profit Boards, including Arts Management Advisory Group Victoria and Inclusion Melbourne. Tony Hanmer Tony has over 25 years‘ leadership experience and a track record of company management acquisitions and leveraging new technologies to build professional organisations. He was Senior Vice President and a Director of McCann Erickson Worldwide and Regional Director Asia and South Pacific, responsible for 29 offices worldwide. Tony is a Non-Executive Director and Board advisor specialising in strategy, marketing and research for a number of Government, public and private companies. Before joining our Board, he was Deputy Chairman of the Endeavour Foundation. Professor Jan Lovie-Kitchin PhD QUT, MSc (Optom) Melb, Grad Dip (Rehab Stud) La Trobe, FAAO Previous to her current role as Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology‘s School of Optometry, Jan was Assistant Dean for Research in the Faculty of Health and Director of QUT‘s Centre for Health Research. She has lectured internationally and the Bailey-Lovie visual acuity charts, which she cocreated, are used worldwide. In 1993 Jan established the QUT Vision Rehabilitation Centre, where she is a consultant optometrist. She is also Assistant Editor of Clinical and Experimental Optometry, the journal of the Optometrists Association of Australia. Ross McColl BEcon (Monash) ACA Melbourne-born Ross has been a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers for more than 19 years. He specialises in the areas of corporate governance, risk management, regulatory compliance and internal audit. Ross completed a Bachelor of Economics at Monash University and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.


Dr Theresa Smith-Ruig B.Commerce PhD Theresa is a lecturer in the School of Business, Economics and Public Policy at the University of New England. She gained a PhD in 2006, specialising in Human Resource Management and has research interests in work-life balance, career development and disability and employment. Vision impaired since 10, she was Vice-President of Blind Citizens Australia, serving on their Board from 2003-05 and as Secretary of its National Women‘s Branch. In 2004-05, she was a delegate to the World Blind Union. This past year also saw the departure of valued Directors Renae Johnston and Tim Griffiths from our Board.


Financial Summary
Total income for the period 2007-08 was $86.026m. The major sources of income were:  Legacies, bequests and donations – $34.368m  Government grants – $29.066m  Investment income and other revenue – $6.813m  Revenue from the sale of goods and services – $8.005m  Net gains on disposal of investments and property – $7.774m. Operating expenses for the period totalled $81.359m. Expenditure was applied as follows:  Client Services and Information Library Service – $59.655m  Marketing and Fundraising – $8.988m  Corporate services – $8.973m  Other expenses – $3.743m  three-year financial position 2008 $’000 2007 $’000 2006 $’000


Cash, debtors and inventories








Property, plant & equipment and intangibles









Payables and provisions




Interest bearing loans




Other (includes income received in advance)







Net assets





Three-year financial performance 2008 $‘000 2007 $‘000 2006 $‘000


Legacies, bequests and donations




Government grants




Investment income and other revenue




Revenue from sale of good and services




Net gain on disposal of investments and property




Total revenue




Expenditure Client Services and Information Library Service 59,655 54,889 47,801

Marketing and Fundraising





Corporate Services




Other expenses




Total expenditure




Operating surplus





Sharing our Vision Vision Australia would like to recognise the considerable in-kind support provided by the Australian corporate community. We appreciate the generosity of all businesses that provide their expertise and goods free of charge, from small enterprises helping at a local level through to multinationals that dedicate resources to our larger projects. The following table provides some examples of the valuable relationships developed by Vision Australia staff. The costs below represent the value of in-kind support, as estimated by the corporate partner, which collectively has significantly reduced Vision Australia‘s operating costs, enabling us to devote more funds to providing essential services to people who are blind or have low vision. Examples of in-kind support from corporates Business In-kind support 2007/08 Estimated value

Microsoft Australia




380 Mitsubishi for Lottery and $1,000 fuel card


Laing O‘Rourke

Enfield sensory playroom upgrade building supplies and labour


Clayton Utz

Legal advice



Examples of in-kind support at a local level: Vision Australia’s Mildura centre Business In-kind support 2007/08 Estimate d value

Adventist Development and Relief Agency

Use of shuttle bus once a month to service client outings


Sunraysia Daily (The Elliot Two newspapers daily for use by Newspaper Group) Vision Australia Radio Mildura


Tall Poppy Winery

Three cases of wine for centre events


Sunraysia Milk Supplies

Four litres of milk for centre weekly



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